European Project Focuses on Greening Seaport Operations

green port operation in Europe
Port of Antwerp will lead the research project to green port operation (Antwerp)

Published May 6, 2021 7:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

An international consortium of 46 partners, led by the Port of Antwerp, is launching a new program focusing on the greening of Europe’s seaports. The five-year effort, which will launch later this year, will explore all aspects of port operations seeking solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the ports.

Known as the Pioneers project, it will involve leading ports, terminal operators, carriers, forwarders, knowledge institutions, technology developers, innovators, and government agencies. The initiative has been awarded a $30 million grant from the European Horizon 2020 program to undertake a series of 19 demonstration projects. These include the production and delivery of green energy, sustainable port design, modal shift, optimization of flows, and digital transition.

“This is an important milestone for the port of Antwerp and the entire port community and also shows that our ambitions are on the right track,” said Annick De Ridder, port alderman for Antwerp. “We want to use this as a financial leverage to strengthen the further greening and sustainability of the port platform and to position our port as the ultimate Green Port of Europe.”

During the program, the partners will examine all aspects of port activities, from terminal activities and concessions, through mobility, fuels, and connectivity, to models for collaboration and the production, storage, and consumption of energy. 

Among the actions they plan to address are the generation of renewable energy and the introduction of vehicles that run on electricity, hydrogen, and methanol. They will also explore adapting buildings and heating networks for energy efficiency. Other areas will address port automation, the roll-out of digital platforms to promote modal shift, and optimize movements of vehicles, vessels, and containers.

Port of Antwerp will act as a pioneering port, where most of the demonstration projects will be undertaken as the programs explore what a Green Port of the future will look like. The ports of Barcelona, Constanta, and Venlo will also take an active role to transfer solutions to their environment as much as possible, and are involved in applying the best practices of the project.

"Port of Antwerp aims to be the first world port to reconcile the economy, people, and climate,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp. “To be climate neutral by 2050, we need to take action now. PIONEERS proves how Port of Antwerp, together with a wide network of stakeholders is pioneering to achieve our goal."

Port of Antwerp wants to be a carbon-neutral port by 2050 and is convinced that green ports can only be created through partnerships and an active dialogue with a wide network of stakeholders. To achieve this goal, the port directors believe it will be crucial to get all stakeholders on board and to roll out innovative solutions. 

The Pioneers project is designed to promote cooperation and ensure that innovations can be applied across the port sector to help achieve Europe’s climate goals.