"Decarbonisation is a must" is something that is understood and accepted by everyone around the world, says Hartmut Beyer, Head of Funding at HPC. Individuals and businesses around the world are keen to understand how goods have been produced and how much CO2 has been generated in transporting them to their final destination.
Governments have recognised the environmental, social and economic threats posed by global warming. In 2016, the Paris Climate Agreement was agreed. It sets a long-term goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.
The EU's climate target is to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 and to be climate neutral by 2050. The German climate target is even tougher: a 65% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2045.
It is well known that transport accounts for 20% of global CO2 emissions. Currently, the maritime industry - as an element of international transport - still relies on fossil fuels, but a transition is underway and has raised awareness of decarbonisation in ports and at sea. Today, we have a number of options to significantly reduce the transport industry's contribution to environmental pollution through CO2 emissions.
For example, when it comes to decarbonisation as an element of port sustainability, there are three main areas of activity:
- Technological measures, e.g. through the implementation of shore-side power supply or the electrification of previously diesel-powered port equipment.
- Operational measures, such as the use of artificial intelligence to optimise container stacking on terminals or the use of a "truck booking system" to avoid energy-consuming waiting times.
- Behavioural measures, e.g. by offering training courses for all port workers to improve eco-driving and eco-awareness.
Ports have a great role to play in the energy transition. They can:
- Integrate renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind turbines into their energy consumption,
- Save energy and become more energy efficient in technical, operational and behavioural terms,
- Store and buffer energy through battery systems to avoid energy-intensive peak situations,
- Switch to CO2-free shore-side electrical power instead of using the ship's engines.
However, this kind of CO2 reduction and energy transition costs a lot of effort and money for all companies involved in the maritime transport chain. As decarbonisation is a matter of national, European and international public interest, there are a number of public programmes that provide financial support for the implementation of sustainable port and transport technologies. Here are just a few examples:
- KsNI - Förderrichtlinie Klimafreundliche Nutzfahrzeuge, which supports private investment in CO2-free trucks and the provision of E/H infrastructure by 80% of the additional costs.
- Combined Transport Incentive Scheme, which supports private investment in intermodal terminals to increase rail freight volumes by up to 80% of the investment.
- IHATEC - Innovative Hafentechnologie, which supports R&D projects for sustainable and innovative port technology with co-financing of up to 50%.
- National H2 Strategy, which supports investments and R&D projects on the application of H2 with up to 40%.
- Electric Mobility Subsidy Scheme, which supports investments and R&D projects on the application of electric energy with up to 40%.
At European level, there are also a number of major co-financing programmes that can be used to co-finance sustainability projects in the maritime transport chain:
- Connecting Europe Facility II, which supports feasibility studies and investments in qualifying EU ports for clean energy supply (e.g. OPS, LNG) and better integration of rail transport to and from the port. The co-financing rate is 50% for feasibility studies and 30% for investments.
- HORIZON EUROPE, which supports up to 80% of R&D projects, including those on sustainability in the maritime transport chain.
- INTERREG VI B Programme, which supports cooperation between European regions to develop sustainable solutions, including smart green mobility, with co-financing of up to 80%.
- Global Gateway, which supports investment in sustainable port and transport infrastructure in developing countries by up to 50%.
Summarising the above information, it is clear that public co-financing can provide a tangible value for any investment or R&D project to improve the sustainability level of ports and the maritime transport chain. However, in order to obtain co-financing, some effort is needed to identify the relevant programmes and to apply successfully and in time for any co-financing.