Ports moving together to reduce ship emissions at berth

Ports moving together to reduce ship emissions at berth

Shore power for greening of ports

Container ships moored at the port generate a lot of emissions, mainly of nitrogen oxides. Today, shore power is the only technology available for reducing marine emissions from container vessels and contributing to better local air quality and less environmental noise. According to the Flanders Environment Agency's emission inventory, almost 19% of the NOx emissions at the port originate from moored ships.

Shore power at the port of Antwerp

Today, there are already 84 shore power connections at lay-by berths for inland navigation craft at the port of Antwerp. Port of Antwerp also wants shore power for container vessels at the port. In recent years, there has been an investigation into which terminals at the port are the most suitable to be equipped with shore power. On this basis, discussions were started with container terminals, the shipping industry, technology companies and electricity companies. However, despite the many efforts, no concrete shore power installations for container ships have been rolled out so far. The implementation of shore power is a complex affair with several hurdles:

  • Uncertainty about future (European) policy on whether or not to make shore power mandatory. An international policy is needed to ensure a level playing field between ports.
  • Unprofitable business cases owing to:
    • Major infrastructure investments that are unachievable at this stage of the technology without public support.
    • Differences in valuation between marine fuels and electricity for shore power. This makes marine fuels much cheaper and it is therefore cheaper to use an auxiliary engine to generate power.
  • No existing solution for the needs of our terminals: 100% flexible ‘sockets’ that do not interfere with operations.
  • A limited number of container ships are currently equipped with shore power facilities.

Shore power for container ships by 2028

For the above reasons, there are currently no terminals in Europe with working shore power installations for deep-sea container shipping. During the World Ports Conference on 21 June 2021, the ports of Antwerp, Bremen, Hamburg, Haropa and Rotterdam announced their joint commitment to provide shore power for the largest container vessels by 2028. To show their commitment and make a clear statement, these ports signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). In this way, the neighbouring ports are showing that they will do their utmost to create the necessary conditions and a level playing field to facilitate the implementation of shore power for their customers.

In addition, the ports are jointly advocating a clear regulatory framework for the use of shore power or an equivalent alternative. The ports are also asking for an equivalent valuation of fuels – and in particular the equalisation of certain levies and taxes on electricity for shore power use with those on marine fuels – and sufficient availability of public funds to implement these projects. In order to implement these projects, the ports are reaching out to the various policy levels, the shipping industry and the terminal operators.

mou-ports-moving-together-to-reduce-ship-emissions-at-berth mou-ports-moving-together-to-reduce-ship-emissions-at-berth.pdf - 197 KB


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About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 271 million tonnes per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. The port is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides, directly and indirectly, a total of around 164,000 jobs and generates an added value of 21 billion euros.
The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society. 

The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors, the Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is the Vice-President. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management. 


The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to communicatie@portofantwerpbruges.com

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
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