Port Infrastructure to play Vital Role in Shipping Decarbonisation

4 mins read  Sealuminati TeamSeptember 15, 2021

The infrastructure at the port needs to be significantly improved if the shipping industry is to achieve its carbon cut targets, according to panelists at an industry event hosted by the AqualisBraemar LOC (ABL) Group today.

Improving port infrastructure, in addition to providing incentives for small shipowners to build environmentally friendly vessels, is the most important step the shipping industry can now take to decarbonize, according to panel Dean Goves, director of Longitude Engineering, part of the ABL Group.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims at cutting 50pc into CO2 emissions, currently comprising 2-3pc of total global value, by 2050 from the first base in 2008. However, the US and UK have now called for emissions zero total for that Duration.

Another obvious way for the port to help reduce shipping is through so-called cold ironing, said panel manager George Savvopoulos, the ABL coordinator. Cold ironing is a process in which the harbour empowers a powerless ship.

Such a practice would allow ships in the port to turn off their diesel-powered engines, which usually use about one-fifth of their fuel compared with a full-blown ship.

"All ports should develop this type of facility," Savvopoulos said. "This will require investment, but, in most cases, it is not there."

Ports also need to supply any fuel tanks they eventually use in decades, as they do now with fuel-based bunkers. Such fuels can be derived from the energy mixes sent - LNG, LPG, ammonia, hydrogen, biofuels - requiring various structures to be distributed to ships.

Approximately 12pc of conventional vessels in the docks will be able to burn different fuels.

Ports need to "find space and supply chains" to accommodate them, Savvopoulos said.

But funding for such bunkering developments is extremely limited due to the increased competition among port investors.

Fighting rising water levels, the direct impact of climate change is a significant issue for port investors, said panel member David Handley of law firm Watson, Farley, and Williams.