The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes EU’s final agreements on onshore power supply and alternative fuel infrastructure and presents the Organisation’s view on the subject.
onshore power supply (OPS). According to ESPO Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost, for ESPO, it is important that for the first time, the strict framework for deployment of OPS is accompanied by an obligation to use the infrastructure.oday, the European Parliament meets in Strasbourg to discuss the final agreement on the Regulation on the Deployment of Alternative Fuel Infrastructure (AFIR), which establishes the framework for the deployment of
The emissions at berth will only go down if the OPS installations are properly used. We now have to take the legislation to the quay and sit together with all relevant stakeholders including shipping lines and terminal operators to make quick progress ahead of 2030
… said Isabelle Ryckbost
In accordance with the final AFIR text, 2030 will be the deadline for TEN-T ports to have onshore power (also known as shore-side electricity) infrastructure in place to serve the demand from container and passenger ships.
The number of annual calls at the port (100 for container ships, 40 for passenger ships and 25 for cruise) triggers the obligation to have OPS in the port. Only ships that remain two hours or more at berth have to be supplied with shore-side electricity.
FuelEU Maritime obliges ships to use the installations as from 2030, unless they use other zero emission technologies, with some exceptions until 2035.
Europe’s ports very much welcome the emphasis (see recitals 4c and 7 and article 5, paragraph 5 of FuelEU Maritime) on the need for a coordinated approach to match demand and supply of onshore power supply involving all public and private stakeholders on both the ship side and port side, as well as any other relevant market actors, which should coordinate to allow for smooth operations on an everyday basis.
ESPO has identified the following challenges relating to deployment and use of OPS:
- The challenges mainly relate to the cost of deploying onshore power supply and the lack of business case, even if all OPEX costs are charged for and a depreciation cost for the infrastructure is borne by the users.
- At this stage, there is usually not enough grid capacity to provide several vessels at the same time with OPS.
- Where onshore power installations are in place, the price is currently often preventing users to plug in. Moreover, in most of the countries, the port authorities are to pay all year long a fixed cost for a large capacity that they often only need during a few months (e.g. cruise). The pricing system for electricity in most of the countries is not suitable for OPS. A more favourable regime for OPS is in many countries not possible.
- In larger ports, an upgrade of the grid network and capacity in the port, requires important additional investments in a service station and the upgrade of cables to the different quays and terminals.
- The operations of connecting/disconnecting the ship to the onshore infrastructure differ from segment to segment. On container terminals there is staff permanently available. On cruise terminals not. Therefore, extra staff has to be foreseen on the quay, during the connecting and disconnecting times as well as in between in standby in case of emergency. These operations require skilled workers. The weight of the cables implies at least two people to handle an installation.
- The OPS infrastructure is tailormade to every ship type, making the long-term planning and investment complicated. Installing a fit-for-all OPS installation does not seem possible. It is thus essential for the investing parties to know if and who will be the user.
- There seems to be an unlevel playing field between Member States as regards the financing. In some Member States the ports can rely on substantial levels of funding whereas in others the public funding is limited or not existent. Important levels of EU funding will thus be needed.
Ports in Europe are in a learning process but are eager to make quick progress. We believe it is important for both policy-makers and all stakeholders involved to follow the implementation process closely, to identify barriers, address problems and find adequate solutions where needed and possible
… added Isabelle Ryckbost.
Finally, ESPO stresses once again that the huge investments that must be made in ports to meet the new AFIR requirements can only be realised if they come with significant public funding instruments which are fit for purpose.
Since the price tag will be an important element in the decision of the shipping lines to use OPS, ESPO also strongly calls for the introduction of an EU-wide permanent tax exemption for shore-side electricity in the reviewed Energy Taxation Directive.
In the same mindset, given the contribution of OPS to the Green Deal objectives, and in light of the reinforced requirements, ESPO believes that funding should be foreseen for OPS projects in ports, under e.g. the Innovation Fund.