High ambition meets business realities

Heidi Neilson of Port of Oslo answers a question, flanked by Linda van Waveren of Port of Amsterdam and Conor Feighan, Feport Heidi Neilson of Port of Oslo answers a question, flanked by Linda van Waveren of Port of Amsterdam and Conor Feighan, Feport

Discussion was lively on the second day of GreenPort Congress in Valencia, as port representatives discussed incentive schemes, supply chain ethics, greening bids and more.

Data gathered from attendees on the first day of the event revealed that the top environmental priorities of organisations attending the Congress are energy conservation, air quality, waste, noise and water quality, said moderator Rosa Mari Darbra of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. This correlates with the findings of the latest ESPO ports survey, she said, with commonality among the top eight issues. According to the Congress survey, climate change is having an impact on 81% of ports.

Carrot or stick?

Environmental charging schemes and incentives sparked debate after Christine Rigby, Environmental Specialist – Air Emissions, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, detailed how her organisation was working with an advisory group (the ports of Gothenburg, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Vancouver, as well as the China Waterborne Transport Research Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council of Hong Kong, Transport Canada and the US Environment Protection Agency) to view incentives as part of a global infrastructure. “There is a growing number of priorities and a growing disconnect for ports,” she said. “The cost benefits of incentives are not clear to everyone  and information is stored in a different format at every site. We will be more effective by working together.”

Antonis Michail, World Ports Sustainability Programme technical director, introduced a discussion on The Environmental Ship Index (ESI). “ESI is a very important project for us,” he said. “It is a priority of ports worldwide, linked to the licence of ports to operate and to grow.”

Describing ESI as “a real success story”, the Port of Hamburg’s Manfred Lebmeier said: “Container ports and vessels are currently the main participants. We are looking at widening the ESI formula (to include noise and particulate matter) while leaving flexibility to incentive providers to elect relevant modules.”

Sotiris Raptis, senior policy advisor for environment and safety and EcoPorts Coordinator, ESPO, said: ‘We are not certain what incentive schemes deliver in terms of emissions reductions but what is critical is the market driver of reputation, which might in turn lead ships to become greener and more sustainable.”

Ethical aspects of sustainability

A panel on responsible supply chains discussed the place of partnerships and other initiatives. Linda van Waveren, CSR programme manager, Port of Amsterdam, said enforcement and supervision of commodity flows by local governments were flawed. “We believe the Port of Amsterdam has a responsibility to make these flows more sustainable because we are indirectly linked in the supply chain.” The port is engaged in a cooperative programme among Dutch seaports to this end.

Heidi Neilson, head of environment, Port of Oslo, made the case for proactive policies. “Not all countries will reach the climate target of reducing emissions by 40-50% by 2030. Rich ports can make the change; we have to reduce by more than 50%.” She said Oslo’s action plan to become the world’s first zero-emission port would see electric buses in port by 2020 and all ro-pax ferries would be zero-emission by 2025. The port has also installed a shore power system, with Stena Line the first customer to use it. Ms Neilson said that Oslo has a system of green public procurements. “If you invest in zero emission solutios, you win contracts. This has been in operation two years and we are seeing major change.”

Conor Feighan, policy advisor, Feport, said growing port contribution to road congestion was a barrier to green operations for many ports. “We are seeing increasing peaks in operations, with the number of containers received at one time increasing. To address this, we need to reduce and simplify administrative burdens for non-road transport, incentivise multimodal supply chains and cooperate on cross-border information exchange.” Port forums can allow the entire logistics sector to meet and discuss priorities, said Mr Feighan. “We need a common understanding of what we are trying to achieve and we should incentivise green investments.”

Green solutions

Green technological R&D was in focus in the final session of Congress. Alex Mateo, business development – Europe, Envirosuite, which provides instant air quality data for ports and terminals, said: “Using a cloud-based platform for real-time environmental impact monitoring, we can quickly identify a problem or investigate what has happened in the past.” Impact forecasting is also possible.

Eduardo Prat, vice-president at Kalmar, said eco-efficient technology at container terminals is leading the way in providing automated solutions for container terminals. Kalmar has created a cloud where customers provide fleet data so that Kalmar can manage the flow of cargo and equipment in terminals. “By 2021, all vehicles we supply to customers will be electric,” he said.

Ulrich Malchow, managing director for Hamburg’s Port Feeder Barge project, explained how the planned barge could fill a gap in transportation of goods in port. “Less than 5% of the entire volume in port is moved by barge although 1 mill TEU could shift by barge. This is because barges need big gantry cranes to move cargo but this is not economically viable. So we asked what would happen if we created a barge with its own crane.” Ideas for the barge’s use in the port are under development.

Willem Nieuwland, project leader, Hyster, described the challenges his company have faced in creating a zero-emission laden container handler. Research is continuing on the company’s virtual vehicle model to overcome the difficulties inherent in replacing traditional diesel-powered operations.

Georg Franz Matzku of Stemmann-Technik shared information on how his company developed its shore power charging solutions for ferries, currently  in use in Norway. “The system is a fully electric fully automated connector system that runs 24/7, 365 days a year, for 10 years,” he explained.

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