Rotterdam is one of seven port authorities collaborating on the programme ©SIPA USA/PA Images
Rotterdam is one of seven port authorities collaborating on the programme ©SIPA USA/PA Images

Major ports to cooperate on decarbonisation

posted by Francis Churchill
18 September 2018

A number of major port authorities have launched a joint decarbonisation programme in a bid to boost the maritime industry’s contribution to the Paris Agreement climate change target.

The World Ports Climate Action Program is a collaboration between the port authorities of Hamburg, Barcelona, Antwerp, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Vancouver and Rotterdam. The ports will work on a number of projects to reduce direct emissions produced by port activity, as well as emissions from the wider sector.

Allard Castelein, president and chief executive officer of the Port of Rotterdam, said reducing emissions from sector was “vital” to achieving the 2015 Paris Agreement of limiting global temperature.

“The Paris Agreement has set a clear target: we need to limit global warming to well below 2C. It is vital in this context to reduce the emissions generated by maritime transport,” he said.

“As critical hubs in the global maritime transport network, I am convinced that ports can make a significant contribution. I am pleased to see that international port authorities have taken on a leading role in this area, committing to collaborative projects that can further advance the decarbonisation of the maritime transport sector.”

As part of the programme, the ports have agreed to focus on five specific actions:

1. Accelerating efforts to fully decarbonise cargo-handling facilities

2. Increasing the efficiency of supply chains using digital tools

3. Promoting common policy approaches to reducing emissions across large geographical areas

4. Accelerating the development of renewable shore-to-ship power

5. Accelerating the development of commercial viable low-carbon fuels and the development of infrastructure for electric ships

The coalition called on other port authorities and the wider shipping industry to work towards the Paris Agreement target. It has also called for governments and regulators to introduce global policies for a CO2 pricing scheme and to provide funding for relevant R&D projects.

Maritime transport accounts for around 2.5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN organisation, and the sector’s emissions are predicted to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050, depending on future economic and energy developments.

Despite this the industry has been slow in getting behind the Paris Agreement. The industry adopted its first strategy to reduce emissions in April this year, when the IMO announced a target of reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

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