Freight News, Sea

Ports can breathe easy over air quality

[ September 12, 2018   //   ]

Port operations make up only a small proportion of total emissions, particularly in urban areas, according to a report by air quality specialists Arup. Emissions from vessels in the ports usually have a relatively low and very localised impact, said the document, which was presented at a roundtable organised by the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) on 12 September.

Emissions around ports – particularly in urban areas – is dominated by road traffic emissions, predominantly diesel cars and HGVs (including, but by no means solely, port related traffic). However, the growing share of Euro 6 diesel vehicles is expected to significantly improve future air quality.

Ways in which could continue to improve their performance include helping to reduce congestion in freight flows, for example by introducing vehicle booking systems, a range of operational improvement and engagement measures and, over time but beginning already, shifting to greater electrification of port operations.

Government could also help by restoring and increasing incentives to shift freight from road to rail. It could also suppor speedier electrification of port operations.

Over the mid and longer terms it could support provision of infrastructure for much greater electricity demand at ports such as shoreside power suppl.

UKMPG chief executive Tim Morris, commented: “Major ports can and will do more to continue their record of air quality improvement. But today’s report is clear that to make a major difference in urban areas around ports the improvement requires more than the port itself acting. All stakeholders – industry and Government at different levels – need to play their parts to deliver meaningful impact. We collectively need to find solutions that achieve the joint goals of better air quality and ensuring that the UK gets the best out of its global gateways.”

He added that some of the debate about air quality “has unfortunately not been well informed.

The Government’s draft Air Quality strategy included a potential requirement for major ports to produce robust air quality strategies.


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