New mandatory targets must push ports and ships into using shore power to reduce emissions, says the UK Chamber of Shipping. This forms part of a twelve-part mandatory regulatory framework being recommended by the industry body, to drive widespread adoption of shore power and other zero-emission solutions at UK ports by 2030 at the latest.
The Chamber’s proposals come in response to a call for evidence by the UK Department of Transport, and follow new findings from Hong Kong based Fung Research, which shows China has fifty shore power facilities. Currently, only two British ports are equipped with shore power facilities; Orkney and Southampton.
A report last year also found the US, Canada, Norway and Sweden have more than double the UK’s shore power facilities. Shore power provides electric charge points which can replenish battery-powered ships in port. It also allows crews to switch off engines while vessels are berthed.
‘The UK is twenty years behind on shore power,’ says Sarah Treseder, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping. ‘Catching up now requires a clear and targeted regulatory framework to drive adoption across our fleets and ports. ‘The government has shown it is prepared to back our industry in developing new solutions for our net zero transition. It must also act fast to back deployment of green solutions like shore power, which are already tried, tested and trusted.’
Lack of availability of shore power
The lack of availability of shore power in ports remains one of the major barriers to the technology’s uptake across the country. A recent survey of UK Chamber of Shipping members found 78 per cent consider the lack of port infrastructure to be the biggest hurdle to implementation. Whereas 48 per cent cited the cost of retrofitting existing fleets, and 43 per cent pointed towards the lack of regulatory requirements.
The industry body also urges government to invest alongside industry to drive adoption of shore power in ports and ships, similar to how it has publicly invested in electric charging points for cars, and how other governments have supported industry in developing their own shore power facilities.
Also read: UK puts £ 206 million into greening shipping
Ships that don’t plug into electric shore power technology at ports should also pay a compliance fine, according to the twelve-point policy plan. And the proceeds should go towards establishing a new greenhouse gas fund, dedicated towards rolling out shore power across all UK ports and fleets.
The use of shore power in ports can contribute to a substantial cut in local air and noise pollution, and help deliver net zero by lowering ships’ emissions.
Under the proposals, ships would not be fined if shore power charging facilities are unavailable or inadequate at ports or if ships already use net-zero emission fuels.
Research last year, commissioned by Maritime UK and produced by Dutch-based consultants, Royal HaskoningDHV, found the UK is significantly behind the rest of the world in developing shore power capabilities.
While the UK has only very recently opened two across its coast, last year the US had ten shore power facilities, and the likes of Canada (five), Germany (four), Italy (three) and France (three) had multiple.
At the time the research was published in March 2021, Britain’s North Sea counterparts Belgium and the Netherlands were listed with two. However, Rotterdam has since taken into use a shore power facility for Heerema’s offshore vessels and is planning facilities for cruise and container ships. Amsterdam is also looking into shore power for cruise ships.
Other EU member states including Norway (eleven), Sweden (eight) Finland (three) and Denmark (three) are also ahead of the UK in shore power capabilities.
Picture: Port of Southampton.