IAPH President: Ports should not compete but collaborate to ensure infrastructure for green fuels

Jens Meier, President of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) and CEO of Hamburg Port Authority has called on ports to actively collaborate on knowledge sharing between themselves and the maritime community to accelerate decarbonization.


Meier spoke at the recent COP28 Shaping the Future of Shipping summit organized by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in Dubai on December 10 with over 300 maritime industry CEOs, government ministers and NGOs present.

“We should not see this as a competitive issue among ports. We need to develop tools together to ensure the infrastructure is available for low and zero carbon fuels for when the ships calling need them,” Meier commented.

He cited the capacity building of ports and their people as well as the development of safety and readiness level tools by the association between the IAPH climate and energy technical committee port colleagues as examples of such collaboration.

In recent months, IAPH had worked as a partner of the IMO Norway GreenVoyage2050 project on developing skills in the safe and efficient handling of alternative fuels at a seminar held in Mumbai, India involving port professionals from developing countries. In 2024, a port readiness level tool developed by a group of advanced ports of the World Port Climate Action Program and IAPH’s Clean Marine Fuels Working Group will be made available by IAPH as an initial manual self-assessment tool following successful testing by the Port of Rotterdam.

Asked whether ports will be ready in time with infrastructure, Meier said that Hamburg Port Authority and other ports will be ready. He added that another important factor to consider is the necessary critical volume of mass demand, given the lower density of these fuels and the need for the port organizations to look at their KPIs and bottom lines.

The vital role of ports as Clean Marine Fuel Hubs

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven emphasized the vital role of ports as Clean Marine Fuel Hubs (CEM Hubs) in the supply of new and existing fuels not only to bunker ships but also the production of green hydrogen, storage and subsequent seaborne transportation of this renewable energy via fuels such as methanol and ammonia to import countries.

“With the IMO agreeing to accelerate shipping decarbonisation, one key success factor will be the successful negotiation of a market-based measure to raise funding for a just and equitable energy transition,” Verhoeven said.

Related Article

“A globally implemented economic measure will need to be agreed upon at the IMO that also ensures developing countries and small island states are not left out in infrastructure and capacity building. Their active participation in the Clean Energy Ministerial CEM Hubs initiative is one way of ensuring that.”

“Shipping and ports as well as regulators, the energy sector and governments need to work together globally to resolve this difficult conundrum – regional schemes risk creating imbalances and unfair competition, distorting markets both on- and offshore,” Verhoeven concluded.