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:
On 15 October it was announced jointly from London and Kuala Lumpur that the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) had issued its report for the third quarter of 2019. This document demonstrates that fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported than in
the first nine months of 2018.
A total of 119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.
While the overall number of incidents has dropped, incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. These statistics confirm IMB’s concerns over continued threats to the safety and security of seafarers.
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.
In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW of Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon, and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released. This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.
In the words of said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB: ‘Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency. It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.’
In recognition of California Clean Air Day, the Port of Long Beach (POLB) announced on 2 October the demonstration of hydrogen- and electric-powered cargo handling equipment at two terminals, in pursuit of its goal to become the world’s first zero-emissions seaport.
This new equipment was purchased through a $5.3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as part of the C-PORT, or Commercialization of POLB Off-Road Technology Project. It was reported that the port has several continuing clean-air technology demonstrations in partnership with labour, marine terminal operators and regulatory agencies.
It is understand that the CARB grant falls under the umbrella of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities similar to those adjacent to the port.
In the words of Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal: ‘Today, you see some of the equipment with the potential to take us to the next level – zero emissions. The equipment, which will be operated by our longshore partners at the port, will help us reduce our impact on our neighbourhoods and contribute to the port’s ability to increase trade.’