The aim of the study "Environmentally friendly handling techniques of fertilisers in ports" commissioned by the German Environment Agency was to examine fertiliser loading in Germany's ports with regard to possible environmentally hazardous discharges of fertilisers into water bodies, to identify the best available technology and the best available environmental practice.
The results show that relatively simple and cost-effective optimisation measures can reduce fertiliser loss during handling:
- Trained/experienced, intrinsically motivated staff
- Maximum distance from the water
- Avoiding transshipment over open water, or if not, covering with a tarpaulin
- Quay preparation (sealing of surface water drainage) and regular quay cleaning
- Taking the weather into account
There is further potential for improvement through the use of enclosed, modern and regularly maintained handling equipment.
The results have already been presented at an international workshop with ministries/authorities, non-governmental organisations and the Baltic Sea ports. Furthermore, the report is the German contribution to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan Measure S21 (Develop and introduce best technologies, techniques and practices (BAT/BEP) to minimize nutrient losses from dry
bulk fertilizer storage and handling in ports in the Baltic Sea region by 2024). The aim is to develop a document for the Baltic Sea region on recommendations for best available technology and best environmental practice. One of the aims of implementing this measure is to reduce nutrient inputs into the highly eutrophic Baltic Sea.