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APM Terminals and DP World map terminal decarbonisation pathway

Image: APM Terminals APMT- electrification-pilot[31].jpg
In a joint white paper released today APM Terminals and DP World map a path for the port industry to decarbonise its container terminal handling equipment within this decade.

Decarbonisation, according to the paper ‘Reaching A Tipping Point In Battery-Electric Container Handling Equipment’, outlines the four levers that industry needs to pull to make the transition to zero emission terminals.

Supporting the launch of the paper APM Terminals CEO Keith Svendsen and DP World COO Tiemen Meester said that they were optimistic that before the end of this decade terminal operators will be able to access cost effective alternative handling equipment through a process of working with each other and original equipment manufacturers to meet the rising demand for green technology.

According to the paper the four levers that can unlock the necessary technology include sending a strong signal of the demand for the technology to manufacturers.

That must be coupled with the reduction in costs which standardisation of the technology will bring, meaning the industry must develop standards. In addition, terminal operators will need to prepare for the new technologies by developing suitable alternative operations, delivering terminal level electrification and workforce training.

Lastly, the paper calls on government to introduce incentives to drive the decarbonisation of ports and terminals.

Incentives would include a requirement for concession bids to be zero emission and credits for zero emission concession bids; concession extensions only to operators that agree to decarbonise their terminal handling equipment; favourable financial incentives for equipment investment; assisting terminal operators with the infrastructure necessary to transition; Introduce clean air mandates and direct financial support for first investments.

By introducing such measures and raising demand the authorities and operators can work to rapidly bring the total cost of ownership for green technology to below that of the conventional diesel equipment as early as 2025.

One of the major steps that can be taken to reduce costs is to follow the example of the automobile trade.

“Riding on the coattails of the automotive industry, developments in battery cells, battery packs, electric drivetrains, and charging solutions will bring down equipment prices.”

According to the paper the cost of battery packs fell by 11% a year on average from 2000 to 2022, and now stands at $150 per kWh.

“Forecasts anticipate that battery packs will be available to car manufacturers for below $75 per kWh by 2030.”

Standardisation of battery packs and charging equipment can bring down average costs by another 7%.

Another 9% can be shaved off the total cost of ownership by “re-thinking the way terminals are operated [which] can optimise for charging and reduce downtime”. This would include ultra-fast charging, battery swapping and wireless power supplies, all have cost implications, but they can be outweighed by savings on operational costs.

Overall, the paper concludes that by raising demand equipment manufacturers can lower the cost of production, standardisation can streamline the rollout of the technology and the development of battery technology can assist in regions where the production of electric power is challenging.

Lastly, the major challenge facing many industries across the globe is finding sufficient staff and training them to the required standard.

The message today from Meester and Svendsen is that the transition within this decade can be done by working with partners and with the support of government and port authorities.

The White Paper can be downloaded here.