European ports look to pave the way for onshore power supply

Around the clock activities in one of the many harbour sections in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, showing large container ships being unloaded and loaded with cargo containers by the large Gantry cranes especially engineered to handle both 20 foot and 40 foot containers. Horizontal impression, showing mostly red, green and blue containers, the gantry cranes, boats, harbour basin and smoggy sky with clouds.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between a number of the Northern Range ports has been announced and will set out common commitments with regard to Onshore Power Supply (OPS).

By jointly committing to enable maximal deployment of OPS for the large container segment by 2028, the ports are moving forward proactively, thereby paving the way for other ports, terminals and shipping segments to follow their example, a statement said.

The ports involved in the MoU include Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Haropa Port and Rotterdam.

While OPS is not a solution for all berths or vessel types it can be a very effective solution to reduce ship emissions at berth.

These emissions account for the major share of ship emissions while in port, as ships burn bunker fuels in order to generate board side electricity at berth.

The ports are calling for a coordinated approach to OPS in order to reduce capex costs through innovation and to provide clarity that will stimulate the shipping sector to equip vessels, to make it possible for a vessel to make use of OPS in multiple ports and to create a level playing field for OPS usage in their respective ports. 

Cooperation between ports can help to give market innovation the necessary push, but direct project subsidies will also be needed to cover the funding gap of promising onshore power projects.

For the ports of Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Haropa Port and Rotterdam, it is clear that significant steps forward can be taken in the Ultra Large Container Segment (ULCV), a statement said.

As the level of OPS-readiness is at its most advanced in the ULCV fleet and as the call frequency of ULCV is high, the market acceptance of OPS and a business case for OPS usage and (retro)fitting of ULCV can be ensured in the most effective way for this ship class. This also correlates with the average berthing duration and high-power demand of these ships, which are currently generating the highest level of emissions at berth.

The ports have therefore agreed to focus on the container terminals that are handling this segment of vessels on a regular basis, by equipping all of these berths by 2028.

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