10 years since launch of “greenports” sustainability strategy
Emissions down by 70 per Cent
The ports of Bremen have significantly improved their carbon footprint. Over the last eight years, they succeeded in reducing emissions by 70 per cent. The target is to make the port infrastructure completely carbon-neutral by the year 2023. Dr Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports, stated, “The ports are the driver of Bremen’s economy. Every fifth job in the Federal Land of Bremen depends on them. I am therefore extremely pleased that we are making progress in terms of the ports’ climate policies.”
The port management company bremenports drew up its sustainability strategy entitled “greenports” back in 2009, the first port company in Germany to do so. The milestones achieved since then include drawing up a plan of action for the sustainable and sparing use of energy resources, increasing the share of renewable energy to more than 90 per cent and fitting the 67 lighting masts of the terminal railway with state-of-the-art LED technology. The greenports programme has also borne fruit in other areas: it has substantially reduced the quantity of dredging spoils from the harbour basins and enabled the creation of Luneplate, a nature reserve of European importance. Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports commented, “We have already made good progress on our way to becoming a green port. Our greenports strategy successfully bundles our endeavours to improve climate protection and sustainability and has meanwhile played a significant part in boosting the positive image of Bremen’s ports.”
The “SHARC” research project will also play a key role in reducing emissions. Since the start of this year Siemens AG, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Technische Universität Berlin and the Institute for Recycling at Bremen University of Applied Sciences have been working on the development of “Smart Concepts for Sustainable Energy in Ports”, under the overall coordination of bremenports. The preparatory phase will end in September 2020 and the concrete implementation is scheduled to take place between 2021 and 2025. Schilling emphasises, “This project clearly illustrates the close links between science and the ports. We can only achieve our ambitious goals with the help of a strong science cluster.”
But the shipping companies themselves are also called upon to reduce emissions. Since 2012, Bremen has offered an incentive for them to do so by granting a reduction in the port charges to eco-friendly vessels. Howe explains, “This is possible thanks to the ‘Environmental Ship Index’ (ESI) which awards vessels a score on the basis of their emission performance. Bremen was involved in the development of the ESI ten years ago.” Last year, discounts were granted on 197 port calls. Ships which are powered solely by liquefied natural gas or methanol benefit from a separate incentive system and are entitled to a discount of 20 per cent per port call.
One central aspect for the future will be the provision of shore power. Schilling adds, “There are meanwhile shore power connections at virtually all the berths for inland shipping. There are plans to make the use of shore power compulsory in future.” bremenports is currently investigating the options for using mobile plant to provide shore power for container shipping at the quayside in the container terminal.