Prohibition on degassing

In the Dutch provinces of Noord-Holland and Utrecht, degassing of benzene and benzene-containing cargoes by ships while underway shall be prohibited as from 1 March 2017. The prohibition shall apply to the degassing of benzene (UN number 1114) and of substances with UN numbers 1267, 1268, 1863, 1993 and 3295 that contain more than 10% benzene. This measure contributes to a better environment and cleaner inland shipping. In the provinces of Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant, this prohibition has been in force for some time now. 


Alternatives for degassing

The following alternatives for degassing are available:

  1. Dedicated transport. This is a method in which the ship is loaded with the same kind of cargo, eliminating the need for degassing.

  2. Compatible transport. If a ship's new cargo is compatible with its previous cargo it means that the residual cargo vapours of the previous cargo do not affect the new cargo. This also eliminates the need for degassing.

  3. Degassing by means of a degassing installation which processes the vapours in a responsible way. As yet there is no degassing facility in the port of Amsterdam. Port of Amsterdam is coordinating the realisation of degassing capacity in its port. Port of Amsterdam is discussing this matter with market participants. There is, however, a degassing installation in operation in the port of Moerdijk.


Violations of the prohibition may be established by means of administrative checks and by carrying out physical checks on board inland ships. Violations are enforced under criminal law. In the province of Noord-Holland, competent authorities are cooperating in the implementation of their supervision and enforcement activities.  In the province of Utrecht, monitoring and enforcement will be carried out by the Police in co-operation with the Environment Agencies.

Transitional phase

A transitional phase applies until a degassing facility in the port of Amsterdam has become operational. This means that, during this period, customers will be informed and no penalties will be imposed. However, once the degassing facility has become operational, penalties will be applicable. From that moment on, degassing from benzene or benzene-containing cargoes while underway will be subject to penalties. Our target is to have a degassing facility operational in the port of Amsterdam in 2018. Port of Amsterdam will keep you informed of the developments in this field.

Information or questions

Additional information regarding the exact nature of the ban is available on the website of the North Holland Provincial Authority: (information available in Dutch only)