Part B – Cargo-related waste


Collection, deposit and reception of cargo-related waste

Part B of the Implementing Regulation deals with residues and waste arising from the transport of dry or liquid goods. Given that more than 300 million tonnes are transported each year on European waterways, the cargo is the main source of potential waste.
Between certain changes of cargo it is necessary to clean or wash the holds or tanks of the residues of the previous cargo to avoid contaminating the new cargo. Not all types of cargo have the same potential impact on the environment in the event of traces of the product finding their way into the surface water.
In 2017, the Convention and Part B were amended to take account of gaseous residues of liquid cargoes, with the aim of protecting the atmosphere. There is a dedicated page on degassing regulations.

Method applied

Treating cargo residues is an expensive business. A particular factor in this respect is the use of wash water as a material for removing residues from holds and tanks. Certain products become dissolved in the water, thus rendering its treatment even more expensive. This is why the Convention’s primary objective is to prevent cargo residues from occurring to the greatest extent possible, namely cargo components that will have to be disposed of and treated as waste.
The required procedure is therefore as follows:

  • optimise unloading and encourage those responsible to adopt sustainable working methods (gather the cargo down to the last kilo / litre);
  • use exclusive transport operations (no unnecessary cleaning between two movements of identical cargoes);
  • use compatible transport operations (no unnecessary washing between two movements of comparable cargoes);

For the irreducible quantity, standards lay down exactly how the cargo residues needs to be treated after it has been unloaded from a vessel.
The frequently low value of the product being transported (in bulk) is precisely what makes the unloading of the final residues an expensive part of the process, given that it is a time-consuming, highly manpower intensive activity.

Financing and responsibility

The regulations aim to impose the costs of the “pollution”, and therefore also the cost of its disposal, by the most heavily implicated party within the logistics chain.
The basic principle is that the vessel is provided in order to carry out a transport movement “without prejudice to the cargo”. After having completed the transport movement, the vessel needs to be handed back in its previous state. The cargo consignee also plays an important role in this process.
For dry goods, the cargo consignee needs to return the hold according to the prescribed unloading standard. He bears any cleaning and washing costs, as well as the statutory disposal of the ensuing waste.
For liquid goods, it is the charterer who is responsible and bears the costs.


Numerous support tools are provided to the profession, ranging from prevention to verifying compliance with these obligations.
There is a precise unloading standard for each type of goods transported:

  • sweeping,
  • cleaning,
  • vacuum cleaning of the holds,
  • depositing of the wash water in a reception station,
  • special treatment, etc.

Applying these unloading standards is facilitated by the WaSTo (Waste Standards Tool). Using a search engine, this electronic tool makes quick work of finding the required unloading condition for the cargo being carried. Each cargo contains an information sheet describing the health and environmental hazards.
The correct performance of the unloading procedure is documented in the attestation of unloading. In particular, it enables the various actors in question to check that they have complied with their obligations and that they have deposited the waste in due form.
National points of contact for matters relating to part B: Pointofcontact_partB