Call For Mandatory Use Of Shore Power At UK Ports

The UK Chamber of Shipping has called on the government to make the use of shore power a mandatory requirement at all seaports in the country. The Chamber is keen to expediate the decarbonisation of the UK shipping industry, with ambitious net-zero targets set for 2050, The Maritime Executive reports.

Shore power, sometimes also referred to as alternative marine power or cold-ironing, means providing the power from a dock-based generator that a ship needs to run while it is docked in port. Currently, only two ports in the UK (Orkney and Southampton) are equipped with shore power facilities.

All the other ports require docked vessels to keep shipboard diesel fuelled auxiliary engines or generators running to maintain the power supply to the ship’s essential functions, such as heating, cooling, and lighting. This leads to higher carbon emissions, higher levels of fossil fuel consumption, and poor air quality in the local vicinity.

Shore power is not only a much greener way of operating, but it also offers a competitive advantage to ship operators, who can reduce their fuel costs. The Chamber of Shipping wants all UK ports to be installed with infrastructure for dockside battery-electric vessel charging facilities.

UK Chamber CEO Sarah Treseder said in a statement: “The UK is 20 years behind on shore power. Catching up now requires a clear and targeted regulatory framework to drive adoption across our fleets and ports.”

She added: “The government has shown it is prepared to back our industry in developing new solutions for our net zero transition. It must also act fast to back deployment of green solutions like shore power, which are already tried, tested and trusted.”

The Chamber is calling on the UK government to provide funding for dockside charging infrastructure in full at all seaports, as it is for the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This would be reinforced by setting targets, in order to bring the UK in line with shore power in other European countries, and China, the US and Canada.

The UK government has recently announced £12m funding for further work into the research and development of maritime technologies, although there are no definite commitments about shore power facilities. It has also set up a dedicated department titled UK SHORE to work on green initiatives for the shipping industry.

UK SHORE has launched an initiative called the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition to encourage innovative new ideas for tackling carbon emissions in the shipping industry. Currently, roll-on/roll-off ships, used for vehicle and heavy equipment shipping, and passenger ferries, create about 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Maritime UK Chief Executive, Ben Murray, said: “The establishment of UK SHORE is a very important step on the UK maritime sector’s decarbonisation voyage. [..] “The projects on display today – from remotely operated vessels to green port infrastructure and electric wind turbine charging points – proves Britain remains an island of maritime pioneers.”

The programme is expected to run for three years, with several more competition rounds to come.