Port leaders agree to extend climate action programme

Top executives of 12 major ports have agreed to continue the work of the World Port Climate Action Programme (WPCAP) with a new focus on shore power, new fuels and green shipping corridors.

The extension of the programme was given the green light at a meeting in Rotterdam to mark the five-year anniversary of the initiative. During that time, WPCAP has contributed to the faster adoption of shore power at ports, and has developed best practice guidelines on its technical, operational and economic implementation.

Jarl Schoemaker, Senior Advisor Policy & Planning Environmental Management – maritime transport at the Port of Rotterdam commented: ‘We saw a shift from a situation where ports developed a few projects to large scale investment programs – the WPCAP ports present here in Rotterdam are planning more than 160 connection points with a total investment plan of more than 500 million euros.

‘But we’re not there yet: various global ports are still lagging in this area even though studies show that shore power will have a tremendously positive impact, both short term and in the long run.’

At the meeting, the port CEOs discussed the benefits of shore power, including improved air quality and a better working environment for shipping crews. They also exchanged views on stimulating its further adoption, noting that terminals and shipping lines also have an important role to play in this.

Another focus area for WPCAP in the coming years is to facilitate the bunkering and adoption of cleaner fuels. The ports have worked with the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels working group to create a Port Readiness Framework, a self-assessment and communications tool that allows various stakeholders to understand the different levels of research, development and deployment of new fuels at ports around the world.

The tool is expected to be ready for voluntary use by ports towards the end of the year.

The contribution of green corridors to maritime decarbonisation will also be considered by WPCAP.

‘There has been a lot of talk about the need to shift to new fuels in the industry and multiple green corridor initiatives have been announced to address this,’ said Heather Tomley, Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs for the Port of Long Beach, California.

‘Now it is time to put this into action and work together as ports to bring fuel suppliers and shippers on board so that we see the first sustainable vessels on these international routes within the next few years.’

WPCAP member ports are already part of five green corridor initiatives, spanning routes from Singapore and Shanghai to LA, Vancouver and Rotterdam, and WPCAP members agreed at the meeting to set an example and enable the deployment of more low- and zero carbon vessels along these routes in the coming years.

The members of WPCAP are the ports of Antwerp – Bruges, Barcelona, Gothenburg, Hamburg, HAROPA PORT (Le Havre – Rouen – Paris), Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York / New Jersey, Rotterdam, Valencia, Vancouver and Yokohama.

Image: Shutterstock

Lesley Bankes-Hughes