Sustainability returns to the top of the agenda

Environmental technology concept starburst

Climate change appears to be firmly back on the global agenda after the US re-joined the Paris Climate Agreement through an executive action signed by the 46th President, Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos Agenda world leaders sounded the alarm on climate threats and called for a unified response.

At the summit on 27 January John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, US National Security Council, said: “The war has started and we’re losing it … we know we can’t afford to lose any longer and action is the one moral, economic and scientific imperative worth contemplating”

In addition, Kerry apologised for the US’ absence from the climate change agenda in the past few years.

The WEF also said that in order to limit atmospheric warming to 1.5°C, the world must halve existing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Every business needs to adjust its business model and develop credible transition plans.

This includes, of course, our ports and terminals and for most, climate change did not drop off the agenda even in the face of COVID-19.

The first edition of the PTI Journal in 2021 puts a focus on sustainable initiatives, delving into what suppliers and ports are doing to tackle carbon emissions and be environmentally sustainable.

For many ports, sustainability and becoming carbon neutral sit at the heart of development strategies.

Updates continue to cross the PTI news desk which signals a move to more innovation and development in the realm of eco-friendly technologies.

Eco-friendly containers

International Container Terminal Services Ltd (ICTSI) announced on 25 January that the Contecon Guayaquil (CGSA) terminal at the Port of Guayaquil in Ecuador has handled the world’s first carbon neutral-certified container shipment.

The shipment employed a logistics process involving environmentally friendly supply chain stakeholders.

The multiple stakeholders in this shipment of Ecuadorian bananas had several carbon neutral certifications.

ICTSI said the milestone demonstrates how exporters can certify their supply chain processes to achieve greater competitiveness and comply with global regulations.

Shore power

Shoreside ports systems are high on the agenda for many ports in terms of initiatives to cut carbon emissions, and the Gothenburg Port Authority has launched such a system.

The Port Authority said that the new network has the potential to cut carbon emissions by 50 tonnes per year.

As has been a trend with many of these initiatives, it is not enough to go it alone. The Gothenburg Port Authority said it hopes to spread the concept to other ports and lay the foundation for a standard for shoreside power within hazardous areas.

Speaking to PTI, HAROPA ports of France has said that it will equip its cruise terminals with onshore power solutions by 2023. Following this will be a test on an autonomous power generation unit powered, for instance, by liquified natural gas (LNG).

There is a plethora of examples of power investing in shore power in efforts to become green, carbon-neutral ports.

It is worth highlighting one of the most notable efforts that is ongoing is at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Port is working closely with the City of Los Angeles to use alternative maritime power (AMP also known as shore-side power) at the port.

Ultimately, it is working to increase  the number and use of AMP even further and  has plans to complete its cruise AMP capabilities by 2023.

The main benefit of shore power usage is that vessels at berth switch from their own diesel-fuelled auxiliary engines on-board, which cause emissions, to electricity generated elsewhere that is then used to power the vessel at berth.


Hydrogen has long been hailed an alternative fuel with carbon-cutting appeal as it is essentially pollution-free.

On 25 January hydrogen power met autonomous driving in new a truck development from AIDrivers and Hyzon Motors.

The two companies are set to design, manufacture and deliver autonomous-drive hydrogen-powered vehicles with an initial focus on ports in the Asia Pacific region.

Writing in the January edition of the Journal, CEO and Founder of Aidrivers, Dr Rafiq Swash, explained, “AI-enabled autonomous automation also cuts fuel emissions due to hyper-efficient, purposed equipment handling and usage.”

In this project, AIDrivers will supply the AI-enabled autonomous technology while Hyzon Motors focuses on the hydrogen fuel cell-powered.

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