Port Esbjerg: Lack of personnel as specialized vessels create specialized jobs
The fast-paced development of the offshore wind industry is causing the emergence of new, unforeseen jobs to which ports cannot cater as there is a lack of people and a lack of port capacity, Jesper Bank, Chief Commercial Officer of Port Esbjerg, said during a presentation in Denmark.
Although the need for port capacity is rising, port development is a ten-year process and is very difficult because ports are usually located in city centers and do not have the necessary free space to expand, Bank said during a press trip that Offshore Energy and offshoreWIND.biz attended in Port Esbjerg.
In addition, there is a lack of capacity in infrastructure, including vessels, trucks, trains, and other physical parts, and the supply chain cannot keep up with the fast developments and everything getting larger, heavier, and quicker.
According to Bank, ports are having problems with servicing huge next-generation vessels such as Jan De Nul’s jack-up vessel Voltaire not only because there is a lack of personnel, but because “specialized vessels create specialized jobs” and training and education have become an “industry for itself”.
Bank noted that 1 GW of offshore wind creates about 9,500 jobs over the lifespan of a project, with 48 per cent being operation and maintenance (O&M) jobs after project commissioning.
The Port Esbjerg COO believes that we need to levelize and standardize the technology in order to cater to all the developments, as well as that automatization of all kinds of operations is welcome.
To remind, Port Esbjerg signed a partnership agreement with five EU ports with an aim to minimize capacity issues that already exist and are set to become even more pressing as offshore wind goals agreed under the Esbjerg Declaration bring increased and accelerated build-out of offshore wind farms.
At the beginning of this year, the port deployed digital twin technology which can simulate future projects and operations and plan accordingly ahead of time, potentially allowing the port to triple its offshore wind capacity.
Port Esbjerg was established in 1873 as a fishing port and became a service hub for Danish oil and gas production in the 1970s. Thirty years later, it became an installation and service hub for North Sea offshore wind farms, now offering between 8.000 and 10.000 jobs.
Last summer, the Danish port signed a contract with compatriot European Energy for the delivery of green hydrogen which will be used in a fuel cell to generate fossil-free power for vessels in the port.
The project, set to kick off this year, represents one of the moves the port is undertaking to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.