Belgium: Antwerp Euroterminal to install first shore power for seagoing ships

Antwerp Euroterminal (AET) has decided to install the first shore power connection for seagoing vessels in Belgium.

Courtesy of Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Expected to be operational in 2026, the shore power installation is said to be the first in Belgium for seagoing vessels, built according to international ISO standards.

With shore power, moored ships can be connected to the local electricity grid via a ‘socket’ on the quay. This reduces emissions of CO2, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter and contributes to better local air quality and less environmental noise. ​

Two fixed shore power connections are being installed at the Antwerp Euroterminal (AET) for car carriers and combination container and roll-on/roll-off (ConRo) ships. AET is the largest multipurpose terminal in Europe and one of the 24 terminals of the Grimaldi Group.

Although the European obligation to provide containerships with shore-based power by 2030 does not apply to RoRo and ConRo ships, AET said it has ”consciously chosen” to do so. This makes it the first terminal in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges – and in Belgium – to provide a “future-proof” fixed shore power installation for seagoing vessels built beyond current EU regulations and directives.

High voltage Onshore Power As a Service (HOPaS) is a technology and services consortium comprising Techelec, Yuso and Whitewood that will be responsible for the investment, installation and operation. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges acts as a facilitator for the rollout of shore power an the terminal.

Green shore power

The installation foresees 2 shore connections with a total capacity of 5MW primarily for Grimaldi’s new RoRo vessels. The commissioned projects will carry a €25 to €30 million investment, to which the Flemish agency for innovation (VLAIO) granted a €4 million subsidy.

The installation will be designed for future-proof expansion, enabling additional vessels to connect.

The 100% green electricity will be initially produced by the three wind turbines installed on the terminal site and operated by Wind aan de Stroom.

In addition, extra capacity will be produced by solar panels on the roof of the multilevel parking garage of the terminal and two extra wind mill turbines are planned to be installed at the terminal. The produced green energy will be stored in a large battery system to optimize the use of the generated electricity.

A greener port

For Port of Antwerp-Bruges, shore power is an important part of the greening of the port. There are already numerous connection points for shore power available for barges and tugs, and in Zeebrugge shore power will be available for cruise ships from 2026.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is also committed to providing shore power for the largest container ships by 2028.

“Shore power is a very efficient measure to reduce emissions and is essential for our sustainable ambitions as a world port. This first shore power installation for deep-sea ships will be installed in the Antwerp Euroterminal and will be operational from 2026. This project, which was made possible by the generous support of a subsidy from the Flemish Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), is a good example of how we, as the economic engine of Flanders, pioneer, innovate and work on the port together with the industry of the future. ​ It is also a good example of the role of facilitator that we take on,” Annick De Ridder, chairman of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, commented.

“We already have plugs for our e-bikes, cars and soon also trucks. Connecting our ships is the next big step. This solution opens a door to a new dimension in AET and Grimaldi’s environmentally friendly focus,” Yves De Larivière, CEO of Antwerp Euroterminal, said.

“The ‘Zero Emission in Port’ project, launched in 2018, has led to the installation of large battery packs on board some of our ships with the aim of achieving zero emissions, zero smoke and zero noise while they are moored at the quay, even if no shore connection is yet available. In addition to the 16 ships in operation and the 12 under construction, all of which are equipped with battery packs, we now already have 9 ships that are suitable for shore power. Furthermore, 38 ships (including newbuilds) will be equipped with AMP (Alternative Marine Power) and ready for connection by 2026. We are therefore enthusiastic about this new project that will start in AET, our largest terminal. Our ships can use green energy during their stay in port and our group can continue to make progress in decarbonizing its operations,” Andrea D’Ambra, Grimaldi Group, explained.

A November 2023 study revealed that the European Union needs to triple or quadruple its installed shore power by 2030 to meet the current ambitions of the FuelEU Maritime regulation and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).

Specifically, the study identified 51 ports across 15 EU coastal Member States equipped with 309 MW of shore power, primarily in passenger and cruise terminals but the current capacity falls short of energy demand, requiring additional power installations.

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