UPM is the first Finnish company, acting as a shipper and charterer, to discharge its ship-generated wastewater on land and utilise various circular economy solutions in wastewater treatment. The commitment has been published on the World Oceans Day, to Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG). The new model will be implemented in the ports of Rauma, Hamina, Kotka and Pietarsaari, which are the four most important ports for UPM's operations.
"Responsible waste management on maritime transport and the use of modern technology in the treatment of ship-generated waste is an obvious strategic choice for UPM," says Lauri Rikala, Director, Global Break Bulk Shipping at UPM. "We have been cooperating actively with Baltic Sea Action Group for over ten years and made several commitments. Therefore, it was only natural that we combine our forces and expertise in this project."
"As a major shipper and charterer, this commitment of UPM affects the operations of several shipping companies, ships and ports. The company will spur other maritime transport companies who want to promote sustainable shipping, circular economy and the well-being of the Baltic Sea," says Elisa Mikkolainen, Project Director, Maritime Affairs at BSAG. "Our aim is to make land-based discharges a permanent practice, also for cargo ships. Now we are inviting other pioneering companies like UPM to join us. Together we can make a difference!"
The commitment has been made for the years 2022-2026, and it will focus on promoting BSAG's Ship Waste Action initiative (SWA). The initiative aims to establish a model whereby cargo ship effluents are discharged at the port, and their nutrients are recycled through circular economy solutions. For example, UPM is exploring opportunities to use recycled nutrients from ship-generated wastewater in its own wastewater treatment plants. Thus, the company contributes to its own 2030 target of using only recycled nutrients in its wastewater treatment plants.
UPM's commitment is a significant step forward in a situation where it is still legal to discharge wastewater from cargo ships into the sea. "Technically, discharging wastewater on land is not challenging, but it requires planning and coordination. Our aim is to implement this model for the ships we operate ourselves and to engage our long-term shipping partners and individual freight service providers," says Lauri Rikala.
In addition to discharging wastewaters on land, UPM and Baltic Sea Action Group together will explore the opportunities to discharge the cargo hold washing waters on land for possible further reuse.