Court rules in favour of ILT in summary proceedings for dirty fuels

The court of The Hague today ruled in the case brought by two fuel terminals against the ILT. The two companies objected to the ILT’s policy rule that prohibits the export of dirty fuels to low-wage countries. The court declared this objection unfounded and ruled in favour of the ILT on all points.

ILT Director of Investigation and Supervision, Karin Visser: 'The ILT feels supported in its approach by this ruling. It means that far fewer dirty fuels can be exported from the Netherlands to African countries, for example. We can already see the consequences of this in our supervision, the quality of the exported fuels has already improved considerably due to the introduction of this rule. But we still have a long way to go and that’s why it’s good the court ruled in favour of the ILT today and the policy rule can be enforced.'

The Netherlands is the largest export country of low-quality fuels to West Africa. Following three ILT studies, the Netherlands has taken its own responsibility. The ILT appeals to the sector about the latter’s duty of care and implemented a policy rule for ‘road traffic of fuels outside Europe’ last August. The core of the policy rule is that businesses make every effort to prevent negative consequences of their actions for human health and the environment. From 1 April 2023, businesses may only produce and export fuels for road traffic with a maximum of 50 ppm sulphur, 1% benzene and 2mg/l manganese.  

The ILT is in talks with businesses about the policy rule and will start actively enforcing the policy rule after this ruling. The importance of this is further underlined by the request from UNEP and African ministers to the European Commission and the main fuel exporting countries. In this request, they ask to improve the quality of the fuel exported to Africa before 1 July 2023.