Port Metro Vancouver – “EcoAction”: A program to charge lower harbour rates to “greener” boats.

Container Vessel

EcoAction: Incentivizing Ships to Reduce Air Emissions

“Canadian ports are the very first ports in the world to work with us on this, and it’s just great. We can now use this as an example and roll it out around the rest of the world. Delighted that Canada is leading the way.”

Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Carbon War Room, a not-for-profit group working to reduce carbon emissions at gigaton-scale and advance the low-carbon economy

Cruise Ship_EcoAction Brochure

Port Metro Vancouver’s EcoAction Program for Ships

  • Offers financial incentives to marine carriers who reduce air emissions by using cleaner fuels, improved engine technology and other environmental best practices.
  • Takes a flexible and results-based approach that enables participants to decide how they can best achieve emission reductions.
  • Helps to change behavior and reduce air emissions associated with the movement of ships.

Details of the EcoAction Program

Port Metro Vancouver’s EcoAction program, launched in 2007, offers financial incentives, through discounted Harbour Due Rates, to ocean-going vessels that implement emission reductions measures and environmental best-management practices. A variety of cleaner fuels, improved engine technologies and environmental management practices are eligible to receive discounted harbor dues rates. Vessels may qualify for one of three levels: Gold, silver or bronze. More information on the program can be found in our EcoAction Program for Ships brochure.

To recognize industry leadership and participation in the EcoAction Program, Port Metro Vancouver introduced the Blue Circle Award in 2010.


2013 EcoAction Program Update

The EcoAction program was updated in January 2013 with three main objectives:

  • Improve participation in the program and encourage further emission reductions to help Port Metro Vancouver meet targets set out in the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy.
  • Promote fuel quality targets that exceed the International Maritime Organization, North American Emission Control Area requirements.
  • Incorporate more options for participation via emerging third party environmental designations, and expand on greenhouse gas considerations.

The 2013 program update was informed by a rigorous consultation process running from 2011 through 2012 and including, industry shipping associations, shipping agents, marine carriers, and various levels of government. The consultation process helped to improve the administrative processes, and identify and validate new and emerging environmental practices and designations that could inform the EcoAction Program.

Container Vessel


  • 55% increase in participants in the EcoAction Program, from December 2011 to 2013.
  • 21% of all eligible calls at Port Metro Vancouver, 521 vessel calls, participated in the EcoAction program in 2013.
  • The harbour due rate discounts received by marine carriers participating in the EcoAction program in 2013 amounted to around $1.1-million
  • 2013 saw our highest ever number of blue circle winners with 16 marine carriers receiving this prestigious award – recognition reserved for marine carriers who achieve the highest emission reductions.

The EcoAction Program for Ships is part of a suite of initiatives within Port Metro Vancouver’s Air Action Program that help reduce emissions associated with port-related activities. Voluntary participation by ships in the EcoAction Program supports Port Metro Vancouver’s achievement of targets established through the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy (NWPCAS). The NWPCAS is a collaboration with the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, as well as government agencies such as Environment Canada,to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ocean-going vessels, cargo handling equipment, and port-related rail and truck movement in the Puget Sound – Georgia Basin airshed. The strategy was updated in 2013 and includes greenhouse gas and diesel particulate matter reduction targets for 2015 and 2020.

Why vote for the EcoAction program?

Port Metro Vancouver enables Canadian trade with 160 global economies resulting in nearly $10B in GDP. Ship emissions are a significant source of port-related air emissions. The EcoAction Program is a unique and innovative approach to promoting voluntary emissions reductions among a diverse set of international stakeholders. The program offers financial incentives through discounted fees, designed to influence the behavior of ship owners, cargo owners and shipping agents. Port Metro Vancouver has taken a consultative approach with industry to design a program that is easy to use and administrate. The program offers a flexible and results-based approach, enabling participants to decide how they can best achieve the emission reductions and obtain discounted rates. Port Metro Vancouver is continually improving the program with the aim of increasing participation.

Learn more at www.portmetrovancouver.com