European institutions and national governments have recognised carbon emissions reduction as one of the key challenges that the world needs to tackle. All sectors of society have to engage this challenge and the transport sector is no exception.
The EU has set a target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 20% compared to 1990 figures by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80-95% by 2050.
Since 2012, container terminal operators which account for over 75% of all containers handled in the EU, have embraced this responsibility by developing a common methodology (EEEG/FEPORT Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emission Footprint), which elaborates how terminals can calculate their emissions over a set period of time.
The EEEG/FEPORT Guidelines constitute a good basis for the work that has been recently launched within FEPORT to expand the methodology to other types of cargo and decrease the carbon footprint of operations which currently account for less than 10% of the total emissions in ports.
Modern economies are built upon interconnected transport modes. Before reaching its final destination, freight often travels via a number of modes of transport – for instance, by ship from Asia to a European port, by rail from the port to a distribution center further inland and, finally, by truck to the final point of destination. Within this transport mode, the maritime segment of the trip is currently the most cost effective and environmentally friendly method of transporting large quantities of goods over long distances. Short-sea shipping also serves as a valuable method to reduce congestion on Europe’s already busy road networks.
Source: IMO and NTM, Sweden
Recent environmental regulatory measures as well as business developments affecting the shipping industry will have an impact on the cargo handling sector.
Among others, gigantism of vessels will inevitably lead to an increase in cargo being handled in European ports and, therefore, the amount of movements required by vehicles on Terminals.
To meet the environmental challenge and assure a promt and effective response to the marker demand, terminal operators have voluntary started introducing measures over the past number of years aiming at reducing their emissions significantly. Operators are phasing out old yard equipments and quay cranes and replacing them with greener engines. The world’s largest terminal operators have also implemented management system to monitor their environmental performances; common methodology for reporting their carbon footprint, the EEEG guidelines, which allows operators to calculate their total emissions per container year on year, has been also developed.
Terminals throughout the European Union are working towards the creation of green infrastructure, the use of LED lights throughout terminals are becoming commonplace and green buildings are being developed to house operator staff. It is also worth highlighting that the use of “E” yard equipment (e.g RTGs powered by electicity) is growing among the main operators. Green training is becoming more commonplace as operators have begun to train staff to operate vehicles in an energy efficient manner. This all leads to emission reductions within European terminals.
The ultimate goal of environmental initiatives is to reduce emissions. Environmental responsibility, joint with the fact the excessive emissions means excessive fuel consumption which in turn leads to greater costs, has led to operators taking the above mentioned measures to reduce emissions. Terminal operators in the European Union are committed to emissions reductions and working with the European institutions to establish methods for emissions reductions which have a real impact on the environment, are business friendly and do not create unnecessary administrative burdens.
Examples of Directives and Regulations in the field of environment applicable to port operations:
- The Bathing Water Directive
- The Dangerous Substances Directive
- The Wild Birds Directive
- The Health and Safety in the Workplace Directive
- The Shellfish Directive
- The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive
- The Habitats Directive
- The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
- The Waste Reception Facilities Directive
- The Water Framework Directive
- The Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and
- The Environmental Liability Directive