UK exploring shore power in ports to speed up green shipping

On 7 February, the UK government launched a call for evidence to gather information on the costs, benefits, vessel emissions and options for increasing the use of shore power in the UK.

Illustration; shore power. Image by Navingo

Maritime Minister Robert Courts launched the call for evidence amid the government’s efforts to accelerate maritime decarbonisation through its Transport Decarbonisation Plan by switching to emissions-cutting shore power at UK ports.

Shore power is said to be vital to decarbonising the maritime sector and improving air quality for local qualities. It enables vessels to turn off their engines and plug into onshore power sources when berthed, reducing carbon emissions, noise and air pollution.

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As informed, Courts will also outline how stimulating the innovation of new green technologies will continue the revival of the UK’s shipbuilding industry, bringing private investment, creating jobs and revitalising coastal communities.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges this generation faces, and we will continue to lead international efforts to decarbonise the maritime sector. Shore power will end the outdated practice of ships keeping their engines running while anchored in port, reducing the poisonous fumes entering the air and ensuring we meet our net-zero 2050 goals”, Courts noted.

Mark Simmonds, director of Policy and External Affairs for the British Ports Association, commenting on the call for evidence said that the ports industry has a key role to play in supporting the decarbonisation of shipping and shore power will be an important part of that.

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Tim Morris, CEO at the UK Major Ports Group, added: “The call for evidence is, therefore, an important step in finding the right, viable ways that industry, government and networks can work together to support the wider deployment of shore power where it is an appropriate solution.”

In a race to decarbonise the shipping sector, the UK launched the Clydebank Declaration, a coalition of 22 countries keen to develop green shipping corridors, during the COP26 in 2021.

The country also has a dedicated Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition which pledged £23 million in 2021 to fund over 55 decarbonisation projects.

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