UK ports to switch to shore power for berthed vessels

Maritime Minister Robert Courts on February 7, 2022 accelerated the UK’s ambitions to deliver a greener, more sustainable future for the shipping industry with plans to explore the rollout of emissions-cutting shore power at UK ports.

Shore power will be vital to decarbonizing the maritime sector and improving air quality for local communities.

Currently, berthed vessels must run their onboard diesel engines to power lighting, galleys, air-conditioning and other amenities. It’s the equivalent of a car or van idling while parked, emitting polluting fumes into the air around ports and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

With shore power, vessels will be able to turn off their engines and plug into onshore power sources when berthed, reducing carbon emissions, noise and air pollution.

Launching a call for evidence on shore power during his keynote speech at the annual UK Chamber of Shipping (UKCoS) Dinner, the Maritime Minister also outlined how, as well as vital environmental benefits, stimulating the innovation of new green technologies will continue the revival of the UK’s shipbuilding industry, bringing private investment, creating jobs and revitalizing coastal communities.

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“Shore power will end the outdated practice of ships keeping their engines running while anchored in port, reducing the poisonous fumes entering the air and ensuring we meet our net zero 2050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

Already leading the charge on key decarbonization technologies such as zero-emissions vehicles, the UK became one of the few nations in the world to have a dedicated Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which pledged £23 million in 2021 to fund over 55 decarbonization projects.

This was joined by commitments made at COP26, in which the UK launched the Clydebank Declaration, a coalition of 22 countries keen to develop green shipping corridors.

Tim Morris, CEO at the UK Major Ports Group, said: “Shore power has the potential to play a positive part in the future of zero emission maritime, although it is an area that currently faces some significant challenges.

“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.”

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