Shore power on the agenda of the Nordic Council of Ministers meeting

Nov 02 2020

Shore power on the agenda of the Nordic Council of Ministers meeting

Environment and climate ministers from the Nordic region met last week, to discuss topics surrounding green aviation, cruise tourism and plastic waste. The meeting resulted in signing of a declaration calling for a joint Nordic mandate, which will be negotiated at the United Nations Environment Assemblies in February 2021 and 2022.

Shore power for ships at ports was one of the main focus points during the talks related to greener cruise tourism. The document confirms the Nordic and Greater Baltic Region’s ambition to lead the way towards reducing pollution from cruise ships and establish them as a sustainable cruise destination. Shore power has been identified as an important piece of the puzzle, with its beneficial impact on air and noise pollution reduction. The declaration calls for power points to be made available in all major ports in the region by 2030.

On-shore Power Supply (OPS) or cold-ironing technology has long been an important subject for the Baltic Ports Organization (BPO). The Baltic Sea region (BSR) has seen a fair share of OPS development in the past years, with multiple ports offering shore power to berthing vessels. These serve a number of different vessel types, including ferries, RoRo/RoPax vessels, tugs, oil and product tankers, as well as cruise ships. 10 new OPS installations have been constructed since 2016 and more are planned in Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm and Ystad.

One of BPO’s webinars held this year, showed clearly that while shore power is certainly one of the viable answers to air emissions and climate change, high investment costs mean it often times remains a difficult business case. The cost effectiveness of on-shore power supply (OPS) technology depends on good cooperation between the ports and shipping lines, with the former usually carrying the initial investment costs linked to the development of necessary infrastructure.

Bogdan Ołdakowski, Secretary General, BPO, said, “BPO would be glad to work together with the Nordic Region representatives, to share our know-how and experience in order to get one step closer to the goal of a green maritime transport. The Baltic is considered a model region for green ports. This has been proven by the application of modern and innovative solutions, focused on greening the maritime transport. The Baltic region is also a leader when it comes to OPS installations in ports.”

The declaration will be followed up by two Nordic reviews focusing on proposals for knowledge generation and funding mechanisms for a potential global agreement and comes on the heels of a report by the Nordic Council of Ministers, outlining tangible measures and initiatives that ought to be included in a global agreement on marine waste and microplastics. Furthermore, it underlines the importance of engaging governments as well as the private sector in work to promote a circular economy, because the life cycles of plastic products are affected by both sustainable production and consumption.

The full report is available directly via the Nordic Co-operation website.

Progress towards the EU’s 2030 climate goals was also on the agenda for the meeting. The ministers discussed ways on which the Nordic countries can push for goals in line with the Paris Agreement and how greater ambition would contribute to effective transition.

The declaration can be accessed directly via the Nordic Co-operation website, by following this link.