Adventures in the high seas are awe-inspiring. Uncontrollable natural forces, exciting discoveries, and great obstacles created by winds and beasts make for attention-grabbing tales. But, in the real-world, too much misadventure in the business of seafaring can lead to loss of revenue and energy.
Today, international seaborne trade grows 4% each year, and with it comes significant environmental challenges. But, we have an opportunity to reduce pollution, while making global shipping via the sea more profitable.
Economics is a major driving force behind adoption of shore connection technology. The benefits are clear and immediate. Pollution is reduced. Costs are lowered. And, energy is used more efficiently. But, if the business benefits of cost savings, cleaner energy, and improved energy resource management aren’t enough to convince ports to install shore connection systems, then energy regulations worldwide should do the trick.
Collectively, commercial transport is responsible for 6% of sulfur oxide (SOx), 15% of nitrogen oxide (NOx), and 2% of CO2 emissions, globally. The negative impact on the environment makes a strong case for more energy efficient ports.
This is why new emissions regulations for ships at berth have been enacted in normally environmentally-friendly countries, including the US and nations of the European Union. China has entered the eco-friendly stage too, investing over $45 billion in renewable energy in 2011. Now, the move to cleaner, more energy efficient ports is not only smart, but legally-required.
If regulations aren’t enough to get port authorities to install shore connections now, then global markets and citizens worldwide should step up and voice their thoughts. Companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations everywhere that depend on shipping for success need to nudge ports to take advantage of shore connection technology for the cost and environmental benefits it provides.
Modern ports cut emissions, noise and vibrations, while reducing ships’ fuel consumption. These ports are enjoying the benefits of cost savings, cleaner working environment, and reputation as sustainability champions. Not all ports are realizing the benefits of shore connection systems, at least not yet. Eventually, shore-to-ship power will become the standard at ports sooner rather than later.
Imagine. Ships at berth receive power from the local grid using shore connection. With intelligent shore connection technology, port authorities maximize energy use so that resources from nearby communities aren’t drained. This is much better than the antiquated, inefficient, and expensive processes in place today. Without shore connection systems, ships at berth are forced to burn marine diesel fuel to run their onboard auxiliary engines, creating pollution and wasting money.
Shipping via the seas continues to be the primary source of global transport. 90% of all commercial cargo is carried by ships. This creates an opportunity for innovation. Port authorities and ship owners are in the best position to be recognized as leaders in sustainability. Championing shore connection is the first step.
What other steps can be taken to clean up ports and make them more profitable?