2022 award goes to the “M/V Auto Energy” and the UECC shipping company

The car carrier “Auto Energy” operated by United European Car Carriers (UECC) has won the greenports award for the “Most eco-friendly vessel”. With a score of 50.1 points, this is the second time that this vessel has topped the ranking of environmentally friendly ships calling at the ports of Bremen in 2021. And as if that were not impressive enough: the UECC shipping company, a subsidiary of NYK and Wallenius Lines, also won the award for the “Most eco-friendly fleet” with an average ESI score of 47.9 points. The port management company bremenports has presented the greenports award to the “Most eco-friendly vessel” and to the shipping company with the “Most eco-friendly fleet” every year since 2014.

This year, particular attention was paid to low nitrogen oxide emissions. In contrast to sulphur oxide emissions, which have already declined significantly thanks to European legislation, there is still considerable room for improvement where nitrogen oxides are concerned.

Katja von Bargen and captain Rui Picarra on board of the „M/V Auto Energy".

This was also the first time that confirmation was obtained from the International Transport Workers’ Federation that the seafarers were paid in accordance with the collective agreements. Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports, stated, “We are particularly interested in various aspects in terms of sustainability: the vessels should have low emissions, they should call regularly at the ports of Bremen and social considerations should also be taken into account in the score, as we want the greenports award to highlight good examples of sustainability in the shipping business.”

According to UECC, the 181-metre long and 30-metre wide “Auto Energy” can transport up to 4000 cars and runs on eco-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG). This not only reduces nitrogen oxide emissions, but also means no emissions whatsoever of particulate matter or sulphur dioxide. This propulsion system enables the “Auto Energy” to perform a 14-day round trip in the Baltic solely with LNG fuel, inclusive of main engine and auxiliary power unit. Moreover, modern technology ensures that the hybrid propulsion system operates with low emissions and reduced fuel consumption in both modes.

UECC has recently added three special ro-ro freighters to its fleet: these are intended to promote the decarbonisation of short-sea shipping with the currently available technologies and to surpass the IMO goal of achieving a 40 per cent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030. Two of the three first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid pure truck and car carriers in the world – the vessels “Auto Achieve” and “Auto Advance” – already called at Bremerhaven in 2022. These ships have been built on the basis of state-of-the-art energy efficiency criteria and satisfy the current legal requirements for emission limits at sea. The vessels use battery power (charged by a shaft generator during the voyage) while in port, thus avoiding the emission of air pollutants and CO2 at the ports. The vessels are also equipped with shore power connections. In addition to LNG, these newbuilds can also operate with alternative low-emission fuels such as biofuels, bio-LNG or synthetic LNG.

This is the ninth time that bremenports has presented its “greenports awards”. In addition to the public presentation ceremony, bremenports also offsets the carbon emissions caused by the winning vessel during one call at the ports of Bremen. This year, 9 tons of CO2 were offset for the “MV Auto Energy”. The climate protection payment is used by “DER KLIMAFONDS” to promote measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions in non-profit, social and cultural institutions.


The award winners were decided on the basis of their scores in the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) for 2021. The ESI is an international standard developed by the major North-West European ports as part of the World Port Climate Initiative (WPCI). The ESI breaks down into part scores for the emission of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and carbon dioxide. Additional points are awarded if the vessel has a shore power connection. The ESI score is a figure between 0 and 100, where zero means that the vessel satisfies the IMO requirements and scores above zero mean that the vessel outperforms the legal requirements. Following the introduction of a stricter limit for the sulphur content of marine fuels, the number of ships that were able to report an ESI score fell to 4474 in April 2021. Since then, however, the figures have been recovering and the number of ships reporting an ESI score has meanwhile risen to a total of 6896 again.