Freight News, Sea

Ports call for energy boost

[ June 23, 2022   //   ]

The UK Major Ports Group and the British Ports Association are calling investment in energy networks to the sector to be ‘supercharged’ with new research and a transformational funding programme.

UKMPG says that energy connectivity is a key enabler for ports if they are to act as hubs for the decarbonisation of freight transport on land and water.

The two associations have released a summary of a report by The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) that demonstrates the huge positive impact ports have on boosting jobs and prosperity around the UK’s coast.

It said that 125,000 people are employed in ports around the UK in jobs that are on average 51% more productive and 40% better paid than UK[1]wide averages, although coastal communities are all too often amongst the poorest in the UK.

The sector contributes £10.8 billion in value to the UK economy – more than air, rail, warehousing, and storage.

UKMPG said that ports are already investing significantly in zero and low emissions equipment and energy generation and are also key hubs for the UK’s offshore wind revolution as bases for construction, operation, and decommissioning.

However they face constraints in realising their ambitions due to the lack of electricity capacity in surrounding areas. The additional electricity demand to charge ships can be as high as the demand for the towns surrounding ports.

Ports would also like to go further and act as zero emissions refuelling hubs for trucks and trains, which is not possible under current grid constraints. Industry research suggests that 70% of ports are already at the ceiling of available grid power.

To help address this, the ports sector is calling for a new energy infrastructure programme based on ‘Project Rapid’ – which specifies the number of charge points on the strategic road network– and a an expansion of the Government’s Rapid Charging Fund to deliver more network capacity in port areas.