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Powering up the energy transition in ports

Victor Shieh Victor Shieh is director of communications and events at the International Association of Ports and Harbors.
Servicing the energy transition comes at a cost and ports are wrestling with the question of ‘who pays’ in the shared responsibility of addressing climate change.

Climate change, the impact of extreme weather on the resilience of maritime transport chains, the emergence of low and zero carbon fuels and increasing pressures placed by regulators to decarbonise the maritime industry have placed ports in a prime position as potential energy hubs.

The International Association of Ports and Harbors World Ports Tracker report for Q4 2022 indicated that 31% of the 77 ports responding from eight regions confirmed increased land use planned for non-fossil energy production.

The challenge in fulfilling this potential lies in bridging the production and distribution costs. The high economic costs of production, the challenges in the funding of infrastructure and the availability of resources for supplying zero carbon fuels implies that ports aiming to become bunkering ports will have to consider becoming zero carbon energy hubs themselves.

However, not all ports will become low and zero carbon fuel bunkering hubs. Some will need to provide maintenance facilities for vessels running on dual fuel or zero carbon fuel propulsion when they make a port call. Other ports will need to have the necessary safety and operational procedures in place with trained personnel to receive vessels running on these fuels. Those that are aiming to become bunkering hubs for these new fuels also need to consider attracting energy suppliers to make ports their energy production hubs for manufacturing, land-based transportation modes, local population energy supply and/or energy reuse.


Read the full article here online in the Seatrade Maritime Global Ports Report 2023


Victor Shieh is director of communications and events at the International Association of Ports and Harbors.