Argus Media Limited

09/14/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/14/2021 14:36

Shipping decarb needs more port investment: ABL

Port infrastructure needs to be significantly upgraded if the shipping industry is to achieve its decarbonization goals, according to panelists at an industry event hosted by the AqualisBraemar LOC (ABL) Group today.

Upgrading port infrastructure, more so than providing incentives to smaller shipowners to build environmentally-friendly ships, is the most important step the shipping industry could take now to decarbonize, according to panelist Dean Goves, managing director at Longitude Engineering, which is part of the ABL Group.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is targeting a 50pc cut in CO2 shipping emissions, which currently account for 2-3pc of the world's total, by 2050 from a 2008 baseline, though the US and now UK have called for net-zero emissions in that time frame.

One clear way for a port to help cut shipping emissions is through so-called cold ironing, said panelist George Savvopoulos, a consultant at ABL. Cold ironing is the process by which a a port powers an idling ship via electricity.

Such a practice would allow vessels in port to turn off their diesel-burning engines, which typically use about a fifth of the fuel compared to when ships are in full steam.

'All ports should be developing this type of facility,' said Savvopoulos. 'This will require investment but in most cases it's just not there.'

Ports also need to be able to provide whatever kind of fuels ships end up using in the coming decades, like they do now with petroleum-based bunkers. Such fuels that will likely figure into shipping's energy mix - LNG, LPG, ammonia, hydrogen, biofuels - all require different facilities to be distributed onto ships.

About 12pc of ships on order at shipyards will have the ability to burn alternative fuel.

Ports need to 'find the space and supply chains' to be able to accommodate them, Savvopoulos said.

But funds for such bunkering improvements are relatively scarce because of competing priorities among port investors.

Combating rising water levels, a direct impact of climate change, is the more pressing matter for port investors, said panelist David Handley of law firm Watson, Farley and Williams.

By Nicholas Watt