Four pillars of port sustainability



Daniela Rodriguez, Marketing Communications Manager, Schneider Electric, Grenoble, France


In today’s port arena, authorities and planners are tasked with ensuring ports investments and operations are durable and fit to future challenges. The need to combine efficient, lucrative operations with a productive and sustainable future is one of the major demands terminal planners are facing. The success of contemporary port operations relies on four essential pillars: environmental development, compliance to international standards, energy management, and the ability to readapt to rising trade flows. A solution for ports that builds on these pillars is ship-to-shore connection technology. It enables ports to become innovative and ecologically viable managers of energy. Shipping trade will continue to increase in the framework of global strategies (such as Blue Growth by the European Commission (EU), Green Freight and Logistics in Asia by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Green Marine in the US) which seek to increasingly shift land and air freight towards sea following specific actions for sustainable development. Developments in port design and port operations, especially in shore connection, rely on following the four pillars of port sustainability which are exemplified in this article through the example of the Port of Bergen.

Environmental development

Ports must collaborate to find novel ways to reduce emissions and noise within their areas of operation; innovative energy management is vital in an industry of large polluters and consumers of energy within cities, so the industry must act collectively now. An ever-increasing number of port authorities around the world are planning to take up this challenge by implementing key infrastructure developments such as shore connection at their ports in order to promote the optimisation of mobility by reducing the emissions generated in the area completely.

Environmental regulations

Regulations have been drawn up by international organisations and pioneering countries, and today, numerous international strategists regard the shipping industry’s continuous growth as problematic. As a result, revisions are made regularly in order to enforce tighter emission limits. On January 1, 2015, the IMO’s latest limits on the sulphur content of fuel used by vessels operating in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) came into effect. Under the latest phase of the sulphur directive, the maximum amount of sulphur in fuel permitted in ECAs has been lowered from 1.5% to 0.1%. A big step forward has also been made this year in Europe with a new directive established concerning the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructures. Under this directive, it will bemandatory for European ports to implement shore connection systems by 2025. To help boost the development of green technologies, European institutions have also voted in favour of appropriate funding programs. Under the TEN-T program, ports willing to invest in shore connection can benefit from up to 20% EU funding. Also, the funding rate goes up to 50% for studies, and a funding call has been open since September 2014 and will close by the end of February 2015. This is the right time for ports to invest in shore connection.

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