Smart cities to smart ports. The Escola Europea knows how important it is to include current innovations being piloted, tested and implemented within the transport sector to counter-act climate change in its courses. Our trademark MOST course takes place on board of the Grimaldi Lines vessels Cruise Roma or Cruise Barcelona (depending on the day the courses begin). These vessels have recently undergone tremendous alternations to become the first emission-free vessels in port in the Mediterranean. Antonio Vargas, one of the MOST course regular teachers, explains their importance and relevance to the current legal and political climate within the region:
Sustainability has been the subject of debate in recent years and the awareness of some shipowners on this subject has led them to adopt many measures that in some cases are required by law, but in others arise from the concern to combat pollution generated in ports and its impact on the cities they serve.
Since the implementation of the European regulation applicable to SECA (Sulphur Emission Control Zones) zones for the reduction of emissions from ships sailing in the English Channel, Baltic Sea and North Sea, and particularly from January 2015, shipowners were forced to replace the use of fossil fuels (HSFO or LSFO) by the Marine Diesel Oil (MDO) and alternatives with a maximum permissiveness of 0.5 percent sulphur contents. This resulted in three options:
- Opting for the first measure with the consequent 50 percent increase in the cost of fuel;
- Providing ships with scrubbers that allow them to clean the ship’s exhaust gases before leaving through one of the chimneys;
- Significantly increasing freight rates, if the market were to accept such increases, or, in the worst case scenarios, suspending maritime services (a situation that has occurred in some cases).
In practice option b) has been chosen by the majority of shipowners, both with open cycle scrubbers and closed cycle scrubbers.
A current and demonstrative example of this situation has been the case of the shipping company Finnlines, belonging to the GRIMALDI group that planned its strategy so that all of its fleet would be equipped with scrubbers before January 2015.
“Zero emissions in ports” was the slogan used by the Grimaldi group to demonstrate its environmental commitment. The company equipped the vessels Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona with lithium batteries that allow them to consume only electricity during their stays in port, avoiding the use of generators powered by MDO.
Following this policy, 12 RoRo ships are being built in the People’s Republic of China which, with a capacity for 500 semitrailers, in addition to lithium batteries, will be equipped with solar panels, silicone paints, propellers coupled to the rudder, alongside other technological innovations, including scrubbers. These give value to the Grimaldi Green 5th Generation programme, which is being developed by the GRIMALDI group and which will be operational between 2020 and 2022.
The Grimaldi group, through its adhesion to the “SAILS” Charter (Sustainable Actions for Innovative and Low Impact Shipping) has confirmed its commitment to contribute to the protection and improvement of the marine environment, an initiative launched last July (2019) by the French government, with the support of the French Navigation Association. It was the first Italian company to sign the charter.
The company’s green commitment also reaches the terminals, with the installation of solar panels and wind towers, as with the case of the Valencia Terminal Europe which has joined the European project H2PORTS (implementing fuel cells and Hydrogen Technologies in Ports).
As a member of the International Chamber of Shipping the Group agreed to pursue the Global Goal of halving its total CO2 emissions by 2050. Finally, as a founding member of the Clean Shipping Alliance, it has actively committed to provide support in the implementation of new standards emanating from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on sulphur emissions.
To know more about the legislation and the new initiatives regarding environment in transport, check out the latest edition of the MOST Iberia training programme. Sign up!
- Antonio Vargas, Grimaldi Lines