Sunday, 26 May 2019 | 23:10
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FEPORT: “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 | 00:00

“Ask what you can do for your country” … or for the port neighbouring areas, for the people working in ports or for citizens living close to ports. This famous quote from John F. Kennedy reflects quite well the mindset prevailing among private port companies and terminals. Most of them have indeed taken proactive measures to minimize the environmental impact of cargo handling operations in European ports well beyond minimum levels of compliance under the current environmental regulatory framework.

For FEPORT members, high levels of environmental performance and safety standards should not be viewed as matters of competition, but as the ultimate responsibility of the wider maritime logistic community towards port neighbouring areas and society in general.

Bringing global emissions down to a sustainable level is possibly the biggest issue that has to be addressed in the 21st century. This has been recognised by national governments and European institutions as a key challenge to be tackled. The EU has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 figures by 2020, 40% compared to 1990 figures by 2030 and 80-95% compared to 1990 figures by 2050. To ensure that future generations can inherit a world in which sustainable development is possible, it is crucial that all actors within the logistics chain coordinate and take their responsibility to reduce carbon emissions seriously.

Private Terminal Operators are investing millions of Euros in sustainable equipment and in training in order to perform environmentally friendly operations on terminals. They are also working with their partners along logistics chains (i.e. with shipping lines, road hauliers, combined transport operators and inland waterways) to minimize the effects of cargo handling and transport operations and improve the “intermodality footprint”.

But there is a need to do more: all, individually and in cooperation with each other. There is a need to decrease the number of blank sailings and to ensure vital information such as ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival) are accurate and communicated in good time.

Positive steps have been taken by FEPORT members to play their part in the greening of the energy supply chain. This is best displayed through the production of wind and solar energy by the terminal for its own use. Terminals are also actively taking steps to green their fleets through the use of alternative fuels such as electric vehicles. FEPORT members have also been supportive of European legislation, such as the NRMM Regulation, which set emission limits for new engines entering the market, which will in turn lead to the greening of European port equipment.

Terminal operators and cargo handling companies have also been taking positive steps to use energy as efficiently as possible. FEPORT members are constantly looking into new, innovative ways to get the most out of the energy they consume.

Terminal operators are currently exploring the possibility of using alternative fuels in terminal equipment. By doing so, terminals can diversify their fuel source and take concrete steps towards energy efficiency.

FEPORT members have taken this responsibility to reduce carbon emissions seriously through the development of a common methodology for calculation carbon emissions. The methodology (EEEG/FEPORT Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emission Foot printing) elaborates how terminals can calculate their emissions over a set period of time. Thereby, terminals will get a stable set of data on which concrete actions to reduce carbon emissions can be based and measured.

It has to be recognised that these efforts have little effect over the most important part of the total port emissions which originate from other sources. As shown by several studies such as “Increased energy efficiency in short sea shipping through decreased time in port” and “Reducing GHG emissions from ships in port areas”, even if port stakeholders produce tremendous efforts to optimize, minimize, communicate, digitalize, and enhance productivity, emissions savings for short sea shipping bulk vessels will not exceed 2-8%. One may reasonably deduct that, for deep sea traffic, potential savings will be around 1 to 4%. Terminal emissions themselves also account for less than 10% of total port area emissions.

Ongoing and upcoming discussions (among others within the European Port Forum) about the sources of emissions in ports will offer a good opportunity to stakeholders to explain how each actor of the maritime logistics chain intends to take active measures to reduce them. It will be also useful to evaluate what is the status of implementation of the existing legislation applicable to ports and where the possible gaps are. We also hope that discussions will allow dissemination of good practices that have been initiated by port stakeholders and other actors of the maritime logistics chain to optimize the calls, reduce the carbon footprint and allow cargo to move fast into the hinterland.

Let us wish that during the next IMO MEPC, debates will focus on the main topic, namely the main sources of GHG emission in ports, and on the necessary effective measures to reduce them…
Source: FEPORT

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