WPCAP sets climate goals for 2021 and beyond

Member ports of the World Ports Climate Action Program (WPCAP) have presented a series of new actions related to energy efficiency, shore power, environmental incentives and alternative fuels for 2021 and beyond.

The actions were set out during the WPCAP’s virtual conference held earlier this month, which featured the ports of Antwerp, Barcelona, Gothenburg, Hamburg, HAROPA port of Le Havre, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Rotterdam, Valencia, Vancouver, and Yokohama.

The first agreement was made on the topic of enhanced energy efficiency. The group noted work being undertaken by the IMO Global Industry Alliance to support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) and subject matter experts of ports, terminals and shipping.

This work is focused on identifying nine measures that ports could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping which will first be discussed with interest groups and advocacy organisations from both ports and shipping sector by the end of February during an IMO GIA meeting.

CEOs agreed that each port would at least implement one measure this year, ranging from speed and deadweight optimisation to facilitating main engine repairs and hull cleaning during cargo operations.

Shore power – or cold ironing – it was noted ‘has the clear potential to enhance air quality and reduce emissions in the port’. The working group assessed the financial benefits if ports worked more closely on shore power coalitions. WPCAP said ‘substantial cost reductions are possible’ if technology is used at a large scale and the pace of implementation is increased in a coordinated manner.

Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre and Rotterdam plan to ‘take this work to the next level’ by working together on investment plans and jointly approach ship owners as shore power means adjustments both in ports and on ships.

Port of Hamburg CEO Jens Meier said: ‘Working together pays off. We have learned so much from Los Angeles over the years making the first steps with power-to-ship in Hamburg. That is the power of this port network.’

A new cold ironing information sharing tool which has been published on the International Ports and Harbors website was also showcased at the virtual conference. The tool gives information on infrastructure, configuration, usage, connecting time, emission reductions and policy instrument.

The working group also stressed that policy instruments remain an important tool to stimulate emission reductions in the maritime industry, using for instance incentives, pricing policies and regulations – taking in mind guiding principles of competition law. The WPCAP CEOs made it clear that there are various ways to achieve results on this topic.

Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, encouraged the group to consider how they can align port incentive programs around common themes of criteria focused on CO2 reduction.

‘With over 60 ship incentive programmes offered by ports worldwide, I am keen to see how we can streamline and simplify access to incentives so shipowners can realise the full potential benefits available across all ports within their trade route.’

Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, supported a coordinated approach.

‘There are a host of options to consider with respect to incentives. It’s well worth our time to share best practices and see if a common approach makes sense.’

The working group will report back on this direction later this year.

On the topic of accelerating and growing the use of sustainable marine fuels, the group agreed to continue to work together with all customers of the ports, with CEOs committing to intensify the need for alternative fuels in their own engagements with, for instance, shipping lines.

Commenting, Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said the progress and agreements made by the WPCAP member ports had given ‘new energy’.

‘The outcome is a proof point that we remain action-oriented and as a network of ports very relevant,’ said Castelein. ‘In identifying pathways for the future, we have made new steps; hence we continue to make a difference.’

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry