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Hong Kong to enforce China’s ECA regulations in 2019

Hong Kong, the third busiest container port in the world, will enforce China’s new emission control area (ECA) regulations once they come into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, which will require all ships operating within the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Bay to use marine fuels with a sulphur content limit of 0.5%.

Hong Kong and Macao, which are part of China’s special administrative regions (SARs), are exempt from the new rules. Hong Kong, which sits at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, had stated its intent to designate its waters of the Pearl River Delta as an ECA, under the Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong published by Hong Kong’s Environment Bureau in March 2013.

On July 1, 2015, Hong Kong introduced a mandatory sulphur content limit of 0.5% in marine fuels for ocean-going vessels at berth, except during the first hour after arrival and the last hour before departure.

China subsequently announced plans to implement similar regulations at berth on the mainland from 2017. These new rules took effect on April 2016 for ports in the Yangtze River Delta, including Shanghai, as a voluntary option to begin the scheme early.