ZEPA will start its activities early next year and is likely to attract terminal operators, original equipment manufacturers, port authorities, and government agencies.
A key focus for ZEPA will be a drive to increase the adoption of battery-electric container handling equipment. Initiatives are likely to draw on the findings of recent research commissioned by the two port operators and published in a white paper in October.
The research found that it is possible for battery-electric cargo handling equipment to become as, or more, competitive than diesel-driven plant as it becomes more affordable, attractive, and accessible. This could happen at some point in the next two-to-eight years, the research found, but only with focused collective action by the entire port ecosystem.
ZEPA will focus on four key workstream objectives to overcome challenges in affordability and accessibility, APM Terminals and DP World said. These will:
- Encourage scaled-up production capacity of battery-electric container handling equipment by manufacturers and reduce product costs;
- Bring down the cost of batteries and charging systems, simplify implementation and increase equipment interoperability;
- Ensure terminal operators and the grid infrastructure are ready for the new equipment and shore power roll-out;
- Create better implementation conditions for zero-emission fleets and help accelerate the adoption of zero-emission container handling equipment.
APM Terminals’ Global Head of Technical, Jack Craig, commented: “It is apt for us to launch ZEPA at COP28 where so many significant conversations are taking place to achieve net-zero. Today’s launch is a catalyst for collective decarbonisation action across the port industry and a signal to all our colleagues that we are serious about combatting climate change.”
Speaking for DP World, Tiemen Meester, COO of Ports & Terminals, said: “I truly believe we are capable of driving the change needed to make port electrification happen. Whilst ZEPA is only at the beginning of the work it has set out to do, I’m confident in the dedication shown by the founding members, and the interest from other industry stakeholders. All involved in terminal operations must play their role in realising zero-emission ports.”
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