Whilst different ports will have different perspectives as
to what ‘sustainable’ operations truly are, broadly there are new green
technologies and low and zero-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels and
power-intensive terminal equipment.
Globally, international maritime and shipping consortia is
bringing together supply chain stakeholders to collectively reduce power
consumption and carbon emissions:
In PTI Journal Edition 105, we analysed some of the key
sustainable initiatives ongoing in ports and maritime currently.
The growth of electricity-powered operations in ports can be
a key driver in bringing down emissions.
Many ports are considering investment in shore power, which
allows docking vessels to ‘plug-in’ to power units berthed within the port
complex – reducing the need to draw power from generators, reducing fuel
Electrified zero-emission yard equipment (such as electric
rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes launched at the Port of Long Beach) will
become more common in the future as ports seek to reduce carbon consumption.
Stakeholders in the port community are increasingly
investing in electrification also: trucking provider Effenco has announced the
launch of the first 100% electric solution offered at the same purchase price
as diesel alternatives.
Low and zero-emission fuels
Renewable fuels for vessels; cargo-handling equipment; or
the storage, generation, and transportation as a business model are all areas where
low and zero-emission fuels can make an impact in ports.
Green hydrogen is zero-emission, generated through renewable
electrolysis. Blue hydrogen is generated through fossil fuels, however carbon
emissions are captured and stored safely. Hydrogen is in development in ports
in cargo-handling equipment and, in the future, potentially hydrogen-powered
Wider supply chain stakeholders are also investing in
hydrogen to drive down emissions: AIDrivers and Hyzon Motors have announced an
agreement to jointly develop autonomous hydrogen powered trucks with fleet
deployment in 2022.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fuel for use in vessels is
experiencing an increase in demand globally. LNG reduces 85% less nitrogen
oxides and considerably less greenhouse gases (GHG) into the air.
LNG bunkering at the port can in the near future be used for
fully carbon-neutral variants of LNG, including liquid biogas from organic
waste or liquid synthetic methane from green hydrogen and captured CO2.
Transporting goods by rail freight is a low-carbon
alternative for the supply chain compared to fossil fuel-powered trucks in
The Port of Valencia is investing heavily in intermodal
transport and cut its carbon emissions by 30% between 2008 and 2019 despite
continuing to grow cargo throughput.
Many in industry have highlighted investment in intermodal
freight solutions as opposed to trucking to reduce port carbon consumption.
Intermodal trade will become more important for US container
ports as e-commerce forces importers and exporters to bring their supply chains
closer to destination markets, according to the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).
Digital investments can make transformational differences
for ports understanding its carbon footprint and how to reduce power
consumption of all port stakeholders.
The Port of Esbjerg installed Honeywell’s data visualised Enacto
Carbon and Energy Management system into its facility, monitoring and pinpoints
resource consumption of every user and the variety of sensors and energy gauges
at the port.
Similarly, the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) has
installed two environmental control booths that analyse air and noise quality
in real-time and provide port actors of where hotspots of emissions can occur.