EuropePorts & TerminalsSustainable Shipping

How green is your port?

With the European Green Deal, the European Commission aims to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050. The Port of Rotterdam supports this ambition and is working towards a zero emission port in 2050. The reduction of emissions by the shipping industry is part of that ambition.


This letter is written by the Port of Rotterdam to European policymakers.

Reducing maritime transport emissions
To reduce the emissions of the entire maritime transport chain, we stimulate investments in sustainable
fuel production across the entire value chain, provide incentives for ships that use cleaner fuels and
develop new safety frameworks and standards for bunkering clean and low carbon fuels and set up
these new bunkering facilities in the port. CO2-emissions at sea represent 87% of all emissions of
logistics chains via Rotterdam. Hinterland transport is 11% and the emissions of berthed ships just 2%.

Yet the reduction of emissions in the port is important, especially to improve the living environment in
surrounding residential areas and to protect vulnerable Natura2000 areas in close proximity to the port.
For this reason, all moorings for inland vessels in the port, as well as the ferry of Stena Line Hoek van
Holland have a shore power connection.

Investing in Europe’s largest green shore power connection
Currently a variety of onshore power infrastructure projects are being executed in the port. One of them
concerns Europe’s largest green shore power connection to supply offshore crane vessels on the
Calandkanaal with onshore wind power. This does not only result in significant carbon reductions, but
also ensures that berthed vessels no longer emit nitrogen and particulate matter to the environment
and moreover reduces noise levels.

Realizing 8-10 new shore power installations in the next five years
Together with the Municipality of Rotterdam, the port authority has embarked on an ambitious strategy
to realize 8 to 10 new shore power installations in the next five years to learn from them and then speed
up the uptake of shore power in the second part of this decade. This approach is a consequence of the
fact that, despite the positive results of shore power, fundamental uncertainties for market parties still
exist and the technical potential of shore power for the shipping industry is still being developed.

Risk of losing momentum with European obligations
A European one-size-fits-all obligation for ports to install onshore power on every berth would result in
very high costs with the risk of creating lock-in effects hampering the uptake of zero emission fuels.
It also risks losing momentum for the commercial interest in shore power by market parties which we
currently see. Shore power has large socio-economic benefits to deliver, but is certainly not a “no regret”
measure that works everywhere; for certain segments and port areas, other measures such as the use
of low and zero emission fuels could be far more cost effective in terms of emission reduction.

Instead of top-down regulations, we would welcome a tailored approach with progressive
ambitions per shipping segment, taking into account local circumstances and costs, while also
driving standardisation. We advocate a value chain approach for the rollout of shore power in
European ports, based on cooperation and stimulation, rather than regulation.

Our ambitions for 2030
Our ambition is to supply 90% of the ships visiting public quays in the urban area with shore power by
2030. Furthermore, we focus on areas and segments where we can take large steps forward.
For Roll-on/Roll-off, ferries, offshore vessels and cruise we want to supply 90% of the visits with shore
power by 2030. For large container vessels (ULCS: >10,000 TEU nominal capacity) the aim is set at
50%. For more complex shipping segments such as liquid and dry bulk and areas where the technical
facilities are not yet available, we provide active support in the field of innovation and standardization.

What we need
In order to realize these ambitions, we need direct project subsidies to cover the non-profitable top
of promising shore power projects. Putting a price on shipping emissions would considerably improve
the business case for shore power while also boosting usage rates. Whereas a permanent tax
exemption for shore power and zero emission fuels is needed to create a level playing field with tax
exempted fossil fuels.

By fulfilling these conditions, European policymakers can help us to deliver zero emission ports,
which in turn can help Europe to achieve climate neutrality in 2050.

This article is shared by courtesy of Port of Rotterdam.

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