Northern European ports to increase use of shore power for ULCVs
Northern Europe’s largest port authorities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost the use of onshore power supply for the ultra large container segment.
The ports of Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Haropa Port and Rotterdam have decided to join forces to enable maximal deployment of onshore power supply (OPS) for ultra large container vessels (ULCV) by 2028.
OPS refers to any technology that allows ships to change their power supply from the vessel’s engines to shore-based electricity, with a preference for green electricity. It can be provided both by mobile and shore-bound infrastructure.
As disclosed, the level of OPS-readiness is considered at its most advanced in the ULCV fleet. Moreover, the port authorities highlighted a strong business case for retrofitting or equipping large container ships for shore power.
The signatories also said the call frequency of containerships at the terminals, the average berth duration, and the high-power demand of these ships create the case to focus on this segment.
“With the joint declaration of the major European container ports on the North Range, we are getting a little closer to zero-emission shipping in line with our greenports strategy. At port locations, it will be possible in the near future to supply ships with shore power during their stay at considerable financial expense. We want these offers to be used as widely as possible in the future,” Robert Howe, CEO Bremerhaven commented.
Jens Meier, CEO Port of Hamburg, added that this is “a first step towards a ‘Zero Emission at Berth’ standard and more will follow.”
Furthermore, the signatories pointed out that there’s a need for a coordinated approach in order to reduce capex costs and stimulate the shipping sector to equip vessels with OPS so that they can use it in multiple ports.
Considering the size and energy demand of ships, the deployment of onshore power however will require large investments with technological challenges to be overcome, including frequency conversion, grid connections, and flexibility needs.
Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam concluded: “Rotterdam has already realized several shore power projects. Our plan is to execute some ten more, bigger scale projects in the next few years and then to scale up based on the experience we’ve gained.”
“I support international cooperation in this area, because it will help all of us to learn from one another, reduce costs, achieve economies of scale, speed up the application of on shore power supply while maintaining an equal playing field.”
To remind, in January 2021, the Port of Rotterdam unveiled a detailed approach to realizing shore power within different shipping segments.
Together with the Municipality of Rotterdam, the port authority presented a strategy to realize 8 to 10 new shore power installations in the next five years.
The strategy supports the port’s ultimate goal of becoming a zero-emission port in 2050, which is in line with the EU Green Deal.