In an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Mr. Allard Castelein, CEO, Port of Rotterdam, reveals how the Port Authority embraces sustainability and remains in line with the UN SDGs. He also mentions three major projects that aim to scale up shore power and port digitalization while he highlights that energy transition requires collaboration. In that regard, the Port Authority is getting broad-based coalitions involved in the development of Green Corridors.
Furthermore, Mr. Castelein notes that ‘shipping still lacks effective international arrangements to accelerate the transition to sustainability’. As a result, in addition to regulations, we should adopt innovative technologies that have already been tested in pilot projects and further develop them in order to maximize their potential.
SAFETY4EA: What do you see as the major challenges for the maritime industry? How will they affect the industry and how are you preparing to face them?
Allard Castelein: Internationally, the maritime industry is still in the early stages of the transition to sustainable shipping. The strong maritime heritage of the Netherlands means that it is well placed to lead that transition. The Port Authority itself is improving the sustainability of marine shipping and transport by working on shore power projects and facilitating the bunkering of clean fuels. As international cooperation is needed, we are setting up ‘green corridors’ with coalitions of other ports, container carriers, forwarders, fuel suppliers and other stakeholders in order to make supply chains sustainable. And for several decades, we have been rewarding vessels with better environmental performance, and vessels that monitor their own noise production, with a discount on port fees.
S4S: What does ‘sustainability’ mean for your organisation and how have you decided to address the critical issue of climate change?
A.C.: We are committed to ensuring that the port and its surroundings are safe, healthy and appealing. The UN Sustainable Development Goals guide all our activities. Particularly since the 2015 Paris Agreement, we have been dedicated to leading the way in the energy transition and acting as an accelerator of sustainability in the port itself. Currently, we have more than seventy projects in preparation or in execution; they can contribute to the achievement of more than 40% of the Dutch climate goals for 2030. We are raising the efficiency of the industry we have and renewing the energy, commodities and fuel systems. And we are working hard on new innovative developments such as carbon capture and storage, the production of green hydrogen and biofuels, and recycling activities.
S4S: From your perspective, what are the key barriers to decarbonisation currently faced by the maritime industry ? How can they be transformed into opportunities?
A.C.: The ultimate success of the transition depends on all partners in the international chain working together. There is a risk that ships will otherwise switch to less sustainable fuels and ports. The Port Authority is therefore getting broad-based coalitions involved in the development of ‘Green Corridors’ in order to establish a carbon-neutral transport chain on specific routes in partnership with other ports and actors from the entire chain. This includes the European Green Corridors Network around northern Europe that was set up with the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a Green Corridor with the port of Gothenburg and a Green & Digital Corridor between Rotterdam and Singapore.
S4S: What is your wish list after COP27 for the industry and/or regulators and all the parties involved in the shipping industry?
A.C.: Transport, and shipping in particular, still lacks effective international arrangements to accelerate the transition to sustainability. It is therefore important for Europe to continue with stimulation measures like the FuelEU Maritime initiative, the Renewable Energy Directive and the ETS system. Carbon leakage must be prevented as much as possible. In addition to sound regulations, it is important for new technologies to have the opportunity to prove themselves in pilot projects and to make it possible to develop them further after that. The energy transition can be successful only if we have scalable and affordable alternatives.
S4S: Do you have any new projects/plans that you would like to share with industry stakeholders?
A.C.: Too many to mention, but allow me to highlight three of the more than seventy projects we have. The City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are accelerating and scaling up shore power for seagoing vessels. The aim is to have a 90 percent of the containerships, cruise ships and ferries plugging in at the quay by 2030. Diesel generators can then be switched off, which is good for air quality and carbon neutrality. Zero Emission Services (ZES), of which the Port Authority was one of the founders, has developed an innovative system solution for electric inland shipping. With an investment from the Dutch government, the company will be developing 75 battery containers with 14 docking stations and 45 electrified inland vessels. In addition, we are working on a range of digital applications that will make the planning of transport by water even more efficient, and therefore more sustainable. For example, you can use our Routescanner system to identify the fastest and most efficient route, and also include carbon emissions in the calculations.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
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