Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Large quantities of green hydrogen, sustainable electricity and the replacement or construction of a substantial number of pipelines in North Sea Port are the main recommendations of the CUST (Clean Underground Sustainable Transport) project.
A study has been carried out in the cross-border port area of North Sea Port into the possible rollout of a large-scale pipeline infrastructure for transporting CO2, hydrogen, synthetic naphtha and heat. These pipelines will be important for reducing annual CO2 emissions in the port area by almost 22 million tonnes over the next 5 to 30 years, and for making the transition to climate-neutral industry by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris climate agreement. The study sets out a number of recommendations to achieve this.
In order to reduce emissions of CO2, it is necessary for companies to capture and use the gas as a raw material (Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU)). Getting the CO2 to its destination will require the construction of pipeline infrastructure. CCU is not immediately feasible in all the various scenarios: as a transitional measure, the capture and storage of CO2 will be required (Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)). The study, reported by North Sea Port on 2 October, is very clear about this.
Limiting the capture of and storage of CO2 (CCS) to several million tonnes will require significant investment in the production of green hydrogen using electricity – up to 200 kilotons by 2030 and an exponential growth thereafter. This green hydrogen will be used to replace current hydrogen consumption (derived from fossil fuels) and for innovative new production processes. An important example of this is the Steel2Chemicals project, in which residual gases from the ArcelorMittal steel plant are used as feedstock by the chemical company Dow Chemical.
More electricity demand
In order to produce this green hydrogen, large quantities of renewable electricity will also be needed. The same goes for the replacement of natural gas by electricity for generating heat. The required increase is equivalent to the offshore production of 2.7 GW by 2030. Compared to the current electricity demand from the industry in North Sea Port, that means at least a quadrupling by 2030, with further growth thereafter. The electricity grid will need to be upgraded, particularly in the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal Zone. Connection of Dutch offshore wind farms with the port area is important in order to ensure that sufficient renewable electricity is available. In order to meet the increased demand for hydrogen, hydrogen will also have to be imported in the long term.
Pipeline infrastructure within and outside the port area
There are already many pipelines in the port area. While some of them can be reused, in many cases new ones will need to be laid. However, many of the existing routes can be used, it is understood. Cost of the network required for transporting CO2 and hydrogen within North Sea Port is estimated at €110 million.
It is reported that this network must also include connections beyond the port area, initially for CO2 transport. Cost of this is estimated at €95 to €130 million. Actual cost will depend on the timing and cooperation with the partner ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam.
Smart Delta Resources
In order to achieve a cross-border pipeline network, cooperation will be necessary – on the one hand between public authorities on either side of the border to facilitate the routes in planning and legal terms. On the other hand, a consortium needs to be formed between industry, network operators, governments and North Sea Port. The Smart Delta Resources platform will play a key role here.
Conducting research together
The study on pipeline infrastructure – the Clean Underground Sustainable Transport project (CUST) – is a joint initiative by:
North Sea Port has indicated that 54% of goods transported to the hinterland are moved by inland waterway shipping. This is the outcome of a study conducted by the port among companies throughout the port area and published on 28 November.
As a multimodal port, North Sea Port will increasingly be focusing on sustainable transport in the future, it is reported.
North Sea Port conducted research into the various transport options used by companies to move goods to the hinterland. This revealed that 54% of goods are transported by means of inland waterway shipping. 30% is loaded into lorries, whilst 9% is transported by rail. Transhipping cargo from one vessel to another accounts for 7%.
Results of this study were explained during North Sea Port’s multimodal event. At an Intermodal Marketplace, shippers and logistics intermediaries were able to find out about the rapidly expanding range of services provided by terminals and shipping companies in the port. These parties offer regular services from North Sea Port with destinations such as Antwerp, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, China, West Africa and South America by sea (deep-sea and short-sea), rail and inland waterway shipping.
DFDS is now using the new ro-ro ship Hollandia Seaways on the route between North Sea Port Ghent and Gothenburg in Sweden.
On 5 December, DFDS’s largest ship was officially named at the Mercatordok Multimodal Terminal in Ghent, North Sea Port.
The purpose of North Sea Port is to manage, operate and develop the 60 kilometres long cross-border port area from the Dutch port of Vlissingen to Ghent in Flanders. Within this framework, it intends to strengthen the position of the port and industrial complex in the area, both in a national and in an international perspective. North Sea Port employs 250 staff.
Hollandia Seaways can carry 450 trailers, representing a cargo capacity of 6,700 line metres. It has a length overall of 237.4 metres. With an extra floor for trailers, this new ship will immediately catch the eye when in the lock in Terneuzen or on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal. The vessel is not only larger than the three DFDS ships which currently sail between Ghent and Gothenburg six times a week, it will be by far the largest ship in the entire DFDS fleet. This larger vessel will take the place of one of the three existing ships on the route. As a result, capacity will increase by some 600 trailers per week.