Collaboration is the road to Net Zero – Insights from Green Tech 2023  

The first Green Tech for Ports and Terminals conference by PTI was in Hamburg, Germany. The agenda included topics around one of the most critical issues in the maritime industry – how to reach net zero emission goals and how digitalised operations will accelerate the industry’s Net Zero Mission. In this article, we put together some of the learnings and insights from the conference. 

The strong consensus in maritime transport is that there is an urgent need for action toward decarbonisation, and time is running out. The speeches raised many barriers hindering development, such as the variety of different stakeholders operating in ports – the road to Net Zero still appears long and bumpy.

Maritime transport is carbon intensive, and because other fields, such as road transport, are taking a quicker pace in electrification, the maritime industry is soon in the spotlight if considerable progress is not seen.

Ports’ role in solving the challenge is to enable and support different stakeholders in their energy transition. The role may include information sharing, ensuring the availability of alternative energy sources, and collaborating in change management.

Many solutions aiming for a more sustainable maritime industry requires changing the way of working, at least to some extent, so it is important to include people’s perspectives. Collaboration between all parties in the maritime logistics chain is extremely important in breaking the barriers of decarbonisation.

Digitalisation is speeding up decarbonisation, as it eases information sharing, which is the most important part of the quest for efficient operations resulting in less emissions. Also, digital platforms, such as GISGRO – port management information system, offer an improved situational view; hence port community can target improvement actions more effectively.

Emissions don’t stop at the border

Air emissions have adverse effects on both people and the planet. Ports already see how climate change affects their business in terms of extreme weather events or impacts on the infrastructure.

The nearby community is worried about the health risks attached to air emissions. To minimise these effects, we need to measure emissions and, by analysing the results, find the most effective ways to tackle the emissions.

Historical environmental data, such as emission calculations, give perspective and improve our understanding of the most significant emission sources.

Ports need easy environmental management systems like GISGRO Green to start minimising their carbon footprint, as the environmental data eases the decision-making. Ports may decide on the best investments to decrease GHG emissions by digging into the emissions’ reasons and simulating different scenarios. And after they have done actions, monitoring the emissions reveals if they have been effective.

Do we need regulation?

Whether we like it or not, regulation on emissions is increasing. As emissions don’t affect only the immediate surroundings of the port, and vessels travel all around the globe, there is a need for common regulations for the whole industry, ensuring that early adopters don’t pay the highest price.

In the conference, number three was often referred to as maritime transport is known to be responsible for 3% of all CO2 emissions caused by human activities globally. The current trend is also worrying as emissions are growing significantly. This trend has triggered European Union to take actions, such as including maritime traffic in the Emissions Trading System and boosting the energy transition to renewable and low-carbon fuels.

The time to act is now, so it is crucial to figure out where ports and stakeholders can best support the industry in transitioning toward a more sustainable and greener future for the maritime sector.

As there is no time to waste, we want to encourage everyone to start the journey towards Net Zero. Digital tools offer easy first steps to map out the best opportunities for ports and their stakeholders for monitoring, minimising, and communicating on their environmental impact.

How about your port?

What are your aims and visions for sustainability? Contact us if you want to discuss the steps toward a green port!

Pia AsikainenPia Asikainen
HSEQ Manager
+358 50 568 8861