ESPO presented its annual Environmental Report for 2019, including more than 60 different environmental performance benchmarks containing figures on the green services to shipping, as well as the Top 10 Environmental Priorities of the European ports. 94 ports participated in this year’s report.
As the report notes, air quality continues to be the number one environmental priority, followed by energy consumption. Namely, air quality has become a key determinant of public ‘acceptance’ of port activity in the years to come.
Climate change made it to the Top 10 of environmental priorities for the first time two years ago, and this year it became the third top priority after air quality and energy consumption. In fact, about eight out of ten European ports take climate change into consideration when they develop new infrastructure projects. In addition, 62% of ports enhance the climate resilience of current infrastructure and 47% of them have already faced operational challenges because of climate change.
Continuing, the relationship with the local community, which is of outmost importance for ports, made it to number five this year. Specifically, the 2019 citizen is stronger, better informed and more engaged, with the local community being the new influencer, which becomes an important reality for ports.
Transparency is also a clearly high priority, as 87% of the ports are communicating their environmental policy to the stakeholders and 82% of them are making it publicly available on their website.
As far as green services to shipping are concerned, more than half of the ports are providing shore-side electricity for ships at berth (OPS), with 48% providing high voltage electricity for seagoing vessels. What is more, one third of them has made LNG bunkering available, which is mainly provided by trucks (90%) and by barges (20%). At the same time, 56% of ports provide environmentally differentiated fees for ships that go beyond regulatory standards, with air emissions, waste and climate change being the main targets of these discounts.
Furthermore, 71% of the ports are certified with an environmental standard (ISO, EMAS, EcoPorts’ PERS), which is an increase of 17% since 2013. 82% of ports have also established an environmental monitoring program, with waste being the most monitored issue.
“In this year’s report, we see that ports continue to invest in green infrastructure such as shore-side electricity for ships at berth. However, we have to be aware of the increased investment costs and the technical challenges that prevent shore-side electricity from making today a strong business case. Increased costs relating to the connection with the grid and the electricity shortage at city or regional level are often additional barriers. Importantly, the price differential remains high due to level of taxation under EU Energy Taxation Directive and national levies applied to electricity price. Uncertainty on the use and the prospect of other promising technologies such as hydrogen makes it difficult to decide.”
states ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.
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