P&O Maritime Logistics: We are assessing a diverse array of fuels
In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, it is no longer a question of whether to decarbonize, but rather how to do it effectively and strategically. The imperative to reduce carbon emissions and embrace sustainability has become an indisputable reality for businesses across industries.
The focus has shifted from debating the necessity of decarbonization to implementing the right strategies in the right locations. With a growing consensus on the urgency of addressing climate change, the emphasis is on practical, region-specific solutions that align with local conditions and regulations.
Offshore Energy spoke to Benjamin Neal, Head of Health, Safety, Security, Environmental & Quality (HSSEQ) at P&O Maritime Logistics, a member of the DP World group of companies, on how to develop an effective decarbonization strategy.
The company’s operational fleet comprises approximately 400 vessels, spanning a wide spectrum of types and sizes. These include tugs, pilot, mooring, and environmental craft utilized in ports and harbors, to inland waterway pusher tugs and barges, and larger offshore vessels such as AHTSVs, PSVs, MPSVs, and ERRVs. The company’s fleet also integrates modular carrying vessels and smaller bulk carriers.
“Developing a comprehensive decarbonization strategy at P&O Maritime Logistics involves a meticulous understanding of the alternative fuel landscapes within our operational regions. We assess various alternative fuels, considering factors like fuel suitability, geographical variations, infrastructure requirements, prioritization, and fuel costs,” Neal said, adding that in this way the company ensures the strategy is both environmentally responsible and practical.
“We also consider the varying levels of commitment to decarbonization in different countries, allowing us to tailor our approach accordingly.”
Neal emphasized the critical importance of understanding the alternative fuel landscape in each region where the company operates. This entails assessing current fuel availability while also considering future energy sector developments.
Furthermore, the offshore industry faces a varied regulatory landscape, he pointed out, marked by different rules and standards across countries, which brings about both challenges and opportunities.
To navigate these complexities, the company relies on its team of experts who possess in-depth knowledge of local operations and the unique challenges each region presents.
When assessing and prioritizing low-carbon technologies for different sectors, the key thing is to consider the suitability of each technology for different types of operations and the availability of alternative fuels in the respective regions, he explained.
“We evaluate infrastructure requirements, such as storage, transportation, and refueling, to understand the feasibility of adopting these technologies. We also conduct cost-benefit analyses to determine the potential savings and benefits of these technologies, including reduced emissions and access to new markets. This flexible approach allows us to choose the most suitable approach for each region, prioritizing practicality, and effectiveness.”
Biofuels are at the forefront of P&O Maritime Logistics’ decarbonization strategy, representing a crucial pillar in their ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Commenting on the outlook for biofuels in relation to the realization of the IMO’s decarbonization targets, Neal said:
“However, a key hurdle we confront is their consistent availability in the volumes we require. Additionally, it’s imperative that these additives not only integrate seamlessly with our operations but also consistently meet the rigorous standards for CO2 reduction, ensuring that our environmental efforts are both meaningful and measurable.
“While biofuels offer a promising pathway to reducing emissions, their future will critically hinge upon the development of sustainable feedstock sources and robust international regulations that affirm their environmental benefits.”
That being said the company is looking beyond biofuels.
“At P&O Maritime Logistics, we’re actively assessing a diverse array of fuels and technologies for our shipping units. Beyond biofuels, our exploration encompasses hydrogen fuel cells, ammonia, battery-electric solutions, and LNG as potential alternative and transition fuels,” he added.
“Concurrently, we’re evaluating advancements in energy efficiency, propulsion systems, and digital optimization tools to enhance fuel consumption and reduce emissions across our fleet.”
Accelerating decarbonization in the maritime industry is faced with several key obstacles, says Neal.
First, financing poses a significant challenge, as transitioning to cleaner technologies often demands substantial capital investment with uncertain short-term returns.
Regulations, while intended to guide the industry towards greener operations, can sometimes be fragmented or inconsistent across regions, making global compliance intricate. Additionally, the very availability of mature, reliable, and scalable decarbonizing solutions remains limited.
Even when solutions are available, infrastructure to support them, like refueling stations for alternative fuels, may be lacking or unevenly distributed. These challenges, combined, make the pathway to decarbonization intricate, requiring a concerted effort from stakeholders across the maritime sector, Neal explains.
In such an intricate ecosystem, monitoring the progress of decarbonization activities requires a comprehensive system of diverse data sources, advanced analytics, and real-time feedback mechanisms to navigate the complexities and ensure the efficacy of strategies.
“P&O Maritime Logistics uses data collection, monitoring, and analytics to track the progress of our decarbonization strategies,” he said.
“We gather data on fuel consumption, emissions, and operational performance. Advanced analytics help us identify trends, areas for improvement, and the impact of our decarbonization efforts. This data-driven approach allows us to make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and continually work towards reducing our carbon footprint.”
Vision for the future
Speaking of the company’s vision for sustainable maritime transportation and its role in shaping the future, Neal said that P&O Maritime Logistics envisions an industry that minimizes its environmental impact while meeting the needs of global trade.
It is a path of continued ‘collaboration and innovation’, he pointed out.
“We believe in leading by example and actively engaging with governments, industry groups, and other stakeholders to shape policies and strategies that support decarbonization,” he added.
“We are committed to actively engaging with regulators, industry groups, and other stakeholders to shape regulations that support decarbonization. We believe that by working together and leveraging collective influence, we can drive systemic change in the maritime industry, making progress toward a more sustainable and low-carbon future.“