Photo: Estonia’s first hybrid ship Tõll that is served by TS Laevad, a subsidiary company of Port of Tallinn. Image Courtesy: Raul Mee/Port of Tallinn.

Port of Tallinn’s 2050 target: All moored ships will need to use green electricity, clean fuel

In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, Estonian Port of Tallinn will have to ensure that all ships moored at the port switch to green electricity or to alternative, more environmentally friendly fuels, a new report shows.

In cooperation with the Estonian Maritime Academy of Tallinn University of Technology, the Port of Tallinn has calculated the total amount of greenhouse gases based on data from 2019.

The total was 27,069 tons of CO2 equivalent for the Port of Tallinn Group companies — the Port of Tallinn, TS Laevad, TS Shipping. The Port of Tallinn parent company together with terminal operators and other traffic through them corresponded to 97,426 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

According to Valdo Kalm, Chairman of the Management Board of the Port of Tallinn, slowing down the acceleration of climate change in the coming decades will depend on every company’s current activities.

“As an important transport and logistics hub in Estonia and by the Baltic Sea, we have a clear responsibility to ensure that the air is cleaner in the future and that we use resources as efficiently as possible. Our goal is also to contribute to the sustainable development of the entire Baltic Sea,” Kalm explained.

He added that the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions will help the Port of Tallinn to implement solutions that have the greatest impact first. According to data from 2019, the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions from port activities in the area of ​​the Port of Tallinn was accounted for by shipping (53%), followed by electricity consumption (23%), emissions from mobile vehicles (11), heat consumption (10%) and stationary equipment (3%).

“Considering that emissions from moored passenger and cargo ships and tankers make up the majority of our environmental footprint, we are already implementing solutions to reduce emissions. Last year, we installed shore-side electrical equipment on five quays in the Old City Harbour, with which ships at berth in the port can use shore-side electricity to reduce emissions, noise pollution and fuel consumption from ship engines,” Kalm continued.

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If, in addition to the Old City Harbour, shore-side electricity produced from green energy is also offered in all other ports, emissions from shipping would be reduced by 47,646 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, according to the report.

Last year, TS Laevad, a subsidiary of the Port of Tallinn, took an important step towards giving up fossil fuels and reaching zero emissions, when the ferry Tõll, which was converted into Estonia’s first hybrid passenger ship, started serving passengers on the Virtsu-Kuivastu route.

The Port of Tallinn intends to continue to transfer its fleet to alternative fuels and will not exclude hydrogen, for example, in the future. This would reduce emissions by 20,563 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“We are already thinking with a longer perspective so that we can move more vigorously towards meeting our goal of climate neutrality,” Kalm said.

In order to reduce the ecological footprint of electricity consumption, the Port of Tallinn entered into an agreement with Eesti Energia this year to purchase renewable energy and now consumes only green electricity produced in Estonia. This will reduce a total of almost 7,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

The Port of Tallinn has linked its strategy to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to climate neutrality, the aim is to achieve zero emissions for ships at berth and divert 70% of ship-generated waste to the circular economy, thus sustaining a cleaner Baltic Sea.