In a newly-published white paper, the Port of Rotterdam has argued that the path to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will bring ‘opportunities to promote and stimulate clean technologies’.
The Port Authority added that the response to the pandemic ‘could speed up the energy transition not only at a local level but also in different countries and regions’ and also ‘give an extra boost to the energy transition which is taking place around the globe’.
The new white paper, entitled Ports of the Future: Seven Building Blocks, identified energy as one of the key factors – or ‘building blocks’ – in re-shaping maritime hubs. The white paper’s other building blocks include: organisation & clients; asset management; infrastructure; environment & stakeholder engagement; the digital transition and innovation.
Focusing on the energy sector, the white paper noted that the response to climate change will ‘gradually push down demand for fossil fuels’ and put more pressure on ports and their users to ‘reduce their carbon emissions and move toward climate-neutral operations in the longer term’.
The white paper continued: ‘Ports of the future will switch to clean sources of energy like wind, solar and water, and also make the transition to bio-based raw materials. More and more modes of transport are being electrified. We are already seeing experiments with electrically-powered vessels for transport over short distances. It is still not clear where initiatives like this will take us but we do know one thing: new solutions will be needed to reduce our carbon emissions. Fuels like LNG, bio-LNG or hydrogen, for example. Wind and solar power have the potential not only to supply the port itself with clean electricity but also to produce green hydrogen. Many vessels, trucks and industries are expected to switch to green hydrogen in the longer run so they can operate on a completely climate-neutral basis.’
The white paper also prophesied that: ‘All the ports of the future will be hubs in a new, circular economy that will not waste any residual waste flows.’