Press release

ICCT and Shenzhen Habitat and Environment Committee sign Memorandum of Understanding

On 21 March 2015 the International Council on Clean Transportation and the Shenzhen Habitat and Environment Committee (SZHEC) signed a memorandum of understanding that will form the basis of a collaboration between the two organizations in 2015–2016 to reduce emissions from the Port of Shenzhen.

The mandate of the Shenzhen Habitat and Environment Committee is to protect the environment, develop and implement urban construction plans, and set environmental standards and technical specifications in the city of Shenzhen. It was tasked by the city government to substantially reduce air emissions from Port of Shenzhen in the next few years.

The Port of Shenzhen is the world’s third largest container port; by the standard measure of container terminal capacity, twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) throughput, it is larger than the top three container ports in the U.S. combined. Like other cities in China, Shenzhen grapples with a severe air-quality problem. The first Chinese city to open to the rest of the world three decades ago, Shenzhen last year became the first city in China to take bold action to reduce shipping emissions and emissions from its port. It has dedicated resources to encourage ship owners to switch from heavy fuel oil, with sulfur content often 100 times higher than the diesel fuel used by trucks, to low-sulfur marine diesel oil. It also built onshore electric-power infrastructure that allows ships berthed at the Port of Shenzhen to use onshore power rather than run their engines while in port.

Under the MOU, the ICCT and SZHEC will partner to calculate an emissions inventory from shipping near the Port of Shenzhen. Based on the inventory, they will identify cost-effective, energy-saving technologies tailored to the port’s situation. The ICCT will also help SZHEC to build capacity through learning from international experience in addressing emissions from shipping.

The collaboration between the ICCT and SZHEC will lay the groundwork for the Shenzhen government to tackle air pollution in a holistic manner, and to coordinate with the neighboring Pearl River Delta Region cities of Guangzhou and Hong Kong to reduce shipping emissions. The Shenzhen government’s focus on the city’s port is also emblematic of a new strategy for addressing the problem of worsening air quality in China, as policy makers shift their attention to the country’s massive shipping industry and extensive network of ports. The lessons learned from this collaboration will shed light on similar efforts by other port cities in China, which holds seven of the ten largest ports in the world.

Contact: Haifeng Wang,

Clean air
China Global