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WPCAP Creates global momentum for sustainable shipping

WPCAP Creates global momentum for sustainable shipping

(Posted on 27/01/23)

In addition to helping its 12 member ports decarbonize, the World Ports Climate Action Program (WPCAP) has contributed to the faster adoption of sustainability standards and measures in the wider shipping industry. That was the main take away from the 4th meeting of CEO’s and working group members of WPCAP, which was founded almost 5 years ago to accelerate actions to combat climate change in the maritime sector.

“Back then we felt it was unjust that the shipping industry did not take part in the Paris climate agreement and to address this, we started WPCAP together.” said Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam. “Today, this issue of climate change is top of mind with industry leaders and other stakeholders alike and I am proud of the initiatives that we have implemented in the past years. I believe these have helped speed up the transition of the industry at large and are testimony to our collaborative efforts.”

The meeting focused on the work done to improve efficiency, aid the adoption of shore power, and accelerate the transition to clean shipping fuels. Members also discussed the decarbonization of cargo-handling equipment, noting in particular the potential of hydrogen fuel cells as a zero-emission technology as this can deliver high performance with relatively low additional requirements for infrastructure investments.

Efficiency continues to be seen as low-hanging fruit for decarbonization efforts, and the significant progress made in setting standards to improve efficiency has elicited positive responses from both WPCAP members and the wider shipping community.

The WPCAP working group focused on the top efficiency measures identified in a survey among almost 600 industry experts from more than 100 countries. Members collaborated with the IMO to calculate the CO2 impact of different efficiency measures and developed a guide and standards for ports to implement just-in-time arrivals and deliver significant fuel savings. In addition, the members worked with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and other bodies to develop a platform for sharing nautical data between ports, improve ship-berth compatibility and further improve efficiency.

Ben van Scherpenzeel, Chairman of the Efficiency working group and Director Nautical Developments at the Port of Rotterdam, noted that both the IMO and ship operators welcomed the measures as they help with planning operations more efficiently, saving fuel costs and reducing emissions. He concluded that that there is still a lot of potential for further efficiency gains by rolling out the new tools beyond the WPCAP network, at ports across the globe.

Of all the topics discussed, shore power saw perhaps the biggest change in attitude in the shipping industry in the past five years, thanks in part to the work done by different WPCAP members.

Jarl Schoemaker, Chair of the power-to-ship working group and Senior advisor Environmental Management at the Port of Rotterdam, noted that while shore power has been around for a long time, the roll-out was traditionally hampered by high investment cost due to low adoption rates. To help create a breakthrough in shore power adaption, WPCAP members made an inventory of available technology and exchanged best practices and demonstrated the benefits of collaboration which resulted in an MoU on the use of shore power for container vessels and cruise ships by 2028. They also commissioned a joint study, which showed that that even with the rise of alternative fuels from renewable sources, shore-power is likely to remain the best option to reduce emissions from large vessels during berth.

Jarl noted that shore power is increasingly recognized by regulators and policy makers as a key instrument for reducing emissions and improving air quality, including in the EU, leading to higher adoption rates and lower cost. This provides an opportunity to further team-up with IAPH in engaging with IMO to address remaining challenges and stimulate a progressive worldwide roll-out of shore power.

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