Part A

Which vessels are required to pay the disposal fee?

All vessels travelling within the territorial scope of the CDNI and bunkering tax-free gas oil are regarded as belonging to the shipping industry. Ferries, service and patrol vessels, floating cranes and dredgers, inland vessels from third countries etc. are consequently affected as well. Vessels belonging to the maritime shipping industry including commercial fishing vessels are exempted. Recreational craft, which normally are not entitled to purchase tax-free gas oil, are also exempted. Separate facilities have been designated for this type of craft.

When must the disposal fee be paid?

The disposal fee is due when gas oil is bunkered. The amount of the charge depends on the quantity of gas oil bunkered. The fee is not for the bunkering company, however. The collected money is transferred to the national institution of the country where bunkering takes place, and is used to fund the network of reception stations. The bunkering company does, however, assist in the charge transaction.

How does payment need to be made?

The ECO card, which is linked to an ECO account established with a national institution, is used to pay the disposal fee. The ship’s operator must apply for the account, which can be established with basically any national institution, under the condition that the applicant holds a bank account in that particular country. Several cards can be issued for each account. It is important that the account is sufficiently covered at all times, since the bank can refuse to debit the account with the disposal fee if coverage is insufficient. For this reason, a sufficient balance must be deposited far enough in advance with the particular national institution. The national institutions may also offer direct debiting in order to automatically restore the ECO account balance to the amount before debiting.

And how does it work exactly?

The bunkering companies have special mobile payment terminals that are connected to the SPE-CDNI administration system. With the ECO card affording access to this system, the bunkered amount of gas oil is entered via the terminal and the account debited with the corresponding amount. The payment receipt, which is issued by the bunkering company, must be kept on board together with proof of purchase for 12 months.

What if I have no ECO card or the ECO account is not sufficiently covered?
A procedure based on a printed form can be carried out in such cases. The skipper responsible signs a promissory note to the credit of the national institution responsible for collecting the charge. The national institution charges an administration fee of €25 for each transaction where this procedure is used.

Is VAT applicable to the disposal fee?
Yes, VAT is applicable to services provided in connection with collecting and treating wastes. VAT is collected by the national institution with which the ECO account has been established, as the disposal fee is used to cover the expense incurred through these services.


Part B

Handling of fertilisers with commodity codes 723, 724 and 729

What is the procedure for handing over fertilisers with commodity codes 723, 724 and 729 on the list of substances as per annex 2, appendix III of the CDNI to an agricultural enterprise for spreading on the field?

The handing over of commodities with commodity codes 723, 724 and 729 on the list of substances as per annex 2 appendix III of the CDNI to an agricultural enterprise for application to a field is permissible on condition that the receiving agricultural enterprise receiving the fertilisers confirms the reception of fertilisers

  • with commodity code 7241 in the attestation of unloading under the heading reception station;
  • with commodity codes 7242, 7243 and 7290 in a separate certificate containing the declaration that the fertiliser will not be discharged into the river, and that the introduction of these fertilisers is permitted under national regulations.



  • Fertilisers in commodity code 723 are permitted to be discharged into the river and are therefore not subject to any further provision.
  • Fertilisers in commodity code 7241 are earmarked for special treatment. This special treatment can also be spreading on a field. The reception of the wash water to be spread on the field should be recorded in the attestation of unloading under the heading reception station as the agricultural enterprise has a comparable function here to any other wash water reception station. It also permits provision of the proof of proper disposal required by the CDNI.
  • Fertilisers in commodity codes 7242, 7243 and 7290 are allowed to be introduced into the sewer system. Precautions must however be taken to ensure that the agricultural enterprise does not discharge into the river. This can be achieved with a corresponding declaration also confirming receipt. Application on a field is certainly a comparable solution here to introduction into the sewer system.
  • Application to soil is only permitted if allowed under national regulations (which may be based on international regulations). This corresponds to an approval permit for the reception station.

Option for the consignee / handling facility to define a higher unloading standard at its own initiative

In the dry goods shipping sector there are three unloading standards; clean-swept, vacuum cleaned and washed-clean. The CDNI says nothing about whether it is permissible in each case for the consignee/handling facility to define a higher unloading standard at their own initiative after the ship has been unloaded. For cost reasons many companies would like to dispense with vacuum cleaning, preferring instead to proceed directly with washing. Is it permissible to define a higher unloading standard? Is it permissible when cleaning to dispense with an unloading standard, e.g. proceeding directly with washing after cleaning with a broom?

The CDNI’s objective is to keep waste disposal to a minimum. Washing immediately after brushing (clean-swept) would create a higher concentration of waste in the wash water. To that extent, the consignee/handling facility might incur higher costs. The quantity of wash water should however be comparable. There is therefore no objection to this approach. A higher downloading standard typically complies with the objective of a clean environment, but may result in higher costs for the consignee/handling facility. Provided that the consignee/handling facility pays these costs, then there are no grounds for objection here.

Disposal of the wash water

According to article 7.05, the consignee/handling facility is obliged to accept the wash water and dispose of it in accordance with appendix III. Appendix III requires special treatment for a number of commodities. There is no further explanation of what this treatment should be. The national provisions for implementation of the CDNI state that in most cases any further disposal is to be as laid down in the national waste and wastewater legal provisions of the respective Contracting States. In a number of cases however appendix III states that spraying onto stored cargo is possible as a means of special disposal. For a number of other products, e.g. fertilisers could there be other simple disposal methods? For example, a number of fertilisers could be picked up by a farmer and spread on a field while complying with the relevant national fertiliser regulations. Another possibility would be to add the wash water to the unloaded cargo.
Are disposal methods such as these possible under currently existing regulations (having particular regard to additional national waste legislation – see respective implementation of the Waste Framework Directive).

The addition of wash water to offloaded cargo is comparable to spraying onto stored cargo. To that extent the list of substances should possibly be expanded. In an initial step, until the list of materials is amended, there might be national exceptions based on article 6.01 paragraph 4.

The spreading of fertiliser on the field could be permitted subject to compliance with the relevant national fertiliser regulations and, where required, any other waste regulations for the transport of the fertiliser wash water to the field in question. The undertaking that the aforementioned regulations are being complied with would have to be provided by the farmer in question to the consignee / handling facility in a legally valid written form.

Electronic transport contract

Many companies are switching over from a hard copy transport contract to an electronic transport contract. The CDNI regulations in this regard do not (yet) appear to have been drawn up. Electronic transport contracts are typically no longer carried on board.
How is inspection meant to operate in this situation (including by the river police) in accordance with article 7.09 of annex 2 of the CDNI? Does article 7.09 need to be amended?

The CDNI does not currently envisage such a possibility. What would be conceivable is a solution in which the charterer gives the carrier an attestation of unloading in which he quotes and confirms the necessary commodity numbers (e.g. with a company stamp and signature).

Agreement between consignor and consignee with repercussions for the carrier

A number of consignors appear to enter into transport contracts with consignees that contain a provision that the consignee only unloads or carries out a minimum of cleaning (clean-swept) but that the cleaning or more thorough cleaning (vacuum cleaned and better) is assigned to the carrier. Does the CDNI permit such contracts?

Concerning contractual agreements, the CDNI says:

  • in article 7.02 paragraph 2 that in providing the vessel a higher unloading standard or washing can be agreed in advance;
  • in article 7.07 that the charterer and consignee are also able to enter into an agreement among themselves as to the allocation of obligations that differs from the allocation of obligations as laid down in this annex, without this being permitted to have any repercussions for the carrier.

A transfer of the cleaning obligation to the carrier without his agreement (if necessary in contractual form) is not envisaged in the CDNI; moreover it would not be consistent with the polluter pays approach required by the CDNI, i.e. the polluter is required to ensure removal.

Deposit option discharge into the sewer system

According to column 4 of the table in annex 2 appendix III “unloading standards” certain materials may be discharged into the sewer system. This determination does not however appear to be sufficiently clear. Does this mean that products may be discharged into any sewer system? or does the sewer system have to be located at the handling facility or at a location assigned to the boatmaster by the consignee or charterer (of the handling facility in question). Is prior verification required whether the sewage treatment plant in question is authorised or designed for the discharged substance?


In numerous cases the sewer system leads into a sewage treatment plant. Sewage treatment plants are typically authorised in accordance with national provisions. These may differ from the CDNI standards or be made contingent on corresponding volume restrictions.


The authorisation to discharge into the sewage system in accordance with column 4 of the table in the unloading standard as per annex 2 appendix III of the CDNI provides that the party responsible for compliance with the unloading standard (consignee, charterer, handling facility) has previously satisfied himself that where appropriate the sewage connection is authorised in terms of the product characteristics and product volume in accordance with national provisions for a discharge of the product in question, as sewage disposal plants may, for example, be subject to corresponding restrictions.
Note: It should however be pointed out that the Contracting States are obliged under article 4 to set up the corresponding reception stations or have them set up That means that the party under a reception obligation must also be able to discharge the wash water himself into the sewer system or at a reception station, as the case might be.

Responsibility for cleaning and washing cargo holds / tanks

It would appear that the responsibility for cleaning cargo holds / tanks has not been clearly defined in article 7.04 paragraph 1. All that is to be found here is the sentence “Unless the transport contract provides otherwise, the boatmaster shall perform the downloading, including the unloading of residues using a bilge system“, which may cause confusion.
1. Is the boatmaster required to perform the unloading?
2. Does this sentence apply only to liquid cargoes or to dry cargoes as well?
The aforementioned sentence describes a situation. The CDNI’s intention was to specify that, in line with practice, the boatmaster himself, or a crew member, is best qualified to perform this task and that consequently this task should fall to him.
However, the responsibility for cleaning lies with the charterer (see article 7.02, 3rd sentence), who may transfer this obligation to the handling facility (see article 7.08).
This sentence only applies to liquid cargoes. This is clarified by the structure of article 7.04 with sentences 1 and 2 (which apply to dry cargoes) and sentence 3 ff. (which applies to liquid cargoes). Moreover, bilge systems are only provided or used on-board vessels that are operated for the transport of liquids.


Part C

Under construction

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