World Ports Climate Action Program (WPCAP), a working group that focuses on taking actions against climate change in the maritime sector, has provided updates on current progress and made agreements on how to proceed with the various processes, especially the development of shore power and alternative fuels.

The port network was established in 2018 at the global climate conference in San Francisco and collaborates closely with the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

It comprises Antwerp, Barcelona, Gothenburg, Hamburg, HAROPA Le Havre, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York / New Jersey, Rotterdam, Valencia, Vancouver and Yokohama.

As explained, within WPCAP, various coalitions work on specific projects, involving as many shipping companies, terminals and energy suppliers as possible for maximum impact.

Recently, representatives of the WPCAP met in the context of the IAPH World Ports Conference, which was held at the Port of Vancouver.

Shore-based power in ports in one of the WPCAP’s projects which is said to be evolving at an increasing pace. This is evident in Vancouver, Canada, where the installations for container ships and the cruise industry are all running on almost 100% hydropower, the shore-based power working group informed.

In addition to the existing installations in Vancouver and Los Angeles, the ports of Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, HAROPA Port and Rotterdam decided to step up the pace in order to provide large container ships berthed with shore power by 2028.

A ‘ship owners module’ was also designed to map out the cost difference between shore-side electricity and maritime fuels. This showed that shore-side electricity is cost-effective, robust and future-proof, particularly for large-scale energy consumers, WPCAP said.

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Jarl Schoemaker of the Port of Rotterdam Authority and leader of the WPCAP shore-based power working group added that the group is currently looking into opportunities to scale up shore power worldwide as well as possibilities to improve the technical standard.

“To this end, we will bring our views to the International Electrotechnical Commission, (…) This is certainly helpful in Europe where the European Commission’s Fit for 55 programme is coming with requirements in the area of shore power, particularly for container and cruise vessels and ferries“, Schoemaker explains.

Preparing ports for ships using alternative fuels

WPCAP is also involved in the preparation of ports to handle vessels using alternative fuels as part of shipping’s mandate to decarbonise, which requires navigating various aspects, including safety, governance, social engagement, and commercial factors.

Representatives from the working group were invited to attend the IAPH Clean Marine Fuels (CMF) meeting focusing on further developing its suite of bunker checklists and audit tools.

The IAPH group created the basic building blocks of a safety framework to address the use of alternative fuels by vessels in ports.

Following the discussion centred on the next step to create a tool to facilitate transparency around a port’s ability to accommodate such vessels, the parties agreed that the WPCAP working group would develop this tool in Vancouver.

Port Readiness Level indicator for Alternative Fuels for Ships (PRL-AFS) was also developed to track the progress a port offering port call or bunkering services would make towards its eventual status as completely ready to accommodate vessels using individual fuels.

Looking ahead, the working group intends to refine the indicator in the following months, see if it would apply to other port types, and share it with relevant stakeholders such as the IAPH, CMF, International Chamber of Shipping, the Getting to Zero Coalition of the Global Maritime Forum, and International Association of Bunker Operators for feedback.

“The partnership with IAPH furthermore provides a platform to bring proposals to the attention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as the wider global ports community”, WPCAP said.

Further progress will be discussed this fall with all port CEOs, followed by the first global WPCAP conference, in the first half of 2023.

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