Improvement measures

A plan in favour of the air we breathe (pdf)

Heading for Sustainability (pdf)

It is not enough to consider the issue of air quality in the port from a purely port-based perspective, since the port is located in Barcelona's metropolitan area, where contaminants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter with a diameter of less than 10µm (PM10) have exceeded the legal limits in recent years. In 2006, several municipalities in the Barcelona region were declared as a Special Atmospheric Environment Protection Area under Decree 226/2006, and in 2007 the Department of Planning and Sustainability of the Catalan Government approved an Action Plan to improve the atmospheric environment in 40 municipalities of the Barcelonès, Baix Llobregat, Vallès Oriental and Vallès Occidental districts to restore air quality.

The Port is part of the Institutional Plan Monitoring Committee, since various measures were adopted to reduce emissions generated in the port. The measures implemented include:


- Introducing environmental requirements in the fleet of trucks used to transport containers.
- Feasibility study of electricity supplied to ships from the pier.
- Fostering rail freight (expanding the internal rail network and increasing rail services).
- Early renewal of the fleet of inland vessels (modernising tugs).
- Port fee discounts for less-polluting ships.
- Improvements in handling dusty bulk products (good practices in terminals).
- Renewing auxiliary loading and unloading machinery (modernising machinery in the container terminals).

When the first Plan expired, it was necessary to adopt a second Plan to follow on from the previous one, and this is the new Action Plan to Improve Air Quality by 2020. Like its predecessor, the new Plan also includes actions to reduce emissions produced in the port, such as increasing rail freight in favour of road transport or introducing alternative fuels such as natural gas for port activities.

In response to this key challenge, the Port of Barcelona is developing its own Port Air Improvement Action Plan that will bring together all port activities related to these issues, and plans to roll out actions in the following areas:

- Ships: promote emission inspections by the Harbourmaster's Office and shipping companies; promote the use of alternative fuels such as LNG and in merchant vessels and internal craft such as tugs; study opportunities for providing electrical power to ferries and cruise ships; apply commercial discounts on port fees for ships.
- Traffic: promote alternative fuels such as LNG; promote the APB fleet's Environmental Labelling; introduce environmental requirements for vehicles of the fleet contracted by the APB; promote efficient driving and Environmental Labelling in external fleets operating in the port.
- Terminal equipment: promote the use of alternative fuels such as LNG.
- Rail and SSS transport: promote the creation of a Port-Rail Authority; promote the commercialisation of new rail services; promote the commercialisation of SSS services and new lines.
- Road and rail access: monitor construction and commissioning.
- Emissions from port works: environmental monitoring of the work done by the APB and checks on external works.
- Sustainable mobility: Sustainable Mobility Plan for APB workers; promote mobility plans in the companies and terminal within the port precinct.
- Improvements to the Port's Air Quality Surveillance Network: remodel the stations of the network; disseminate environmental information; port emissions inventory; modelling Air Quality in the port.