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Hydrogen import will prove of major importance



Hydrogen import will prove of major importance. Image: Port of Rotterdam
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In a future, carbon-neutral world, Northwest Europe will continue to be a major net importer of power. And in many cases, this power will be in the form of hydrogen. Rotterdam has the potential to establish itself as a leading international hub for hydrogen flows, similar to the port’s current role in the oil economy. Among other things, this calls for a clear strategy (preferably Northwest European), public-private partnership and financing along the entire chain – from production to consumption. In this undertaking, a pro-active approach offers greater chances of success than a ‘wait-and-see attitude’.

These and other conclusions are set out in the report ‘Hydrogen for the Port of Rotterdam in an International Context; a Plea for Leadership’ published by the research institute DRIFT (Dutch Research Institute For Transitions) and written at the invitation of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Among other things, the report makes use of the results of various dialogue sessions led by Professor Jan Rotmans, which were attended by experts from the port’s industrial sector, the government and science.

The report states that by 2050, local dependence on imported power can run up to 60% in Northwest Europe – and in the Netherlands even to as high as 75%. The port of Rotterdam is uniquely positioned to develop into Northwest Europe’s leading hydrogen hub, with green hydrogen as a key pillar. But this position shouldn’t be taken for granted. According to the report, it is important to not only invest in hydrogen consumption and production at an early stage, but also – indeed, above all – in the import and trade of this product.

Rotmans expects that the new power trade flows will also result in a new geopolitical balance at the global level. ‘Based on this assessment, the Netherlands should give thought to which position it intends to occupy in this future international arena. If you plan to retain your strategic function, you will need to actively pre-finance hydrogen projects as a government, to give impetus to the development of this international position. And private companies will also have to make substantial investments in hydrogen to ensure that they can play a leading role in the new, carbon-neutral economy.’

Blue and green

According to Rotmans, parties should not only invest in green hydrogen over the next decade but also in blue hydrogen, which is produced using natural gas. The carbon that is released during this process is immediately captured and stored in reservoirs in the sea bed. ‘The progression from blue to green hydrogen is inevitable if we intend to develop the required mass and volume – both at the demand and at the supply ends. In Rotterdam’s case, this step will play a crucial part in both reducing the emissions of its industrial sector and simultaneously retaining its existing status as energy port.’

For the moment, green hydrogen is still a relatively expensive option, and over the next ten years, there will not be enough green power to enable the large-scale production of hydrogen. In many cases, it is still impossible to develop a profitable business case for projects in this area. In this light, the report includes a recommendation to the government to actively pre-finance projects via a public-private investment fund. This requires combined tendering schemes that explicitly link the realisation of wind farms to the production of green hydrogen.


The Port of Rotterdam Authority sees the DRIFT report as a confirmation of its chosen path. Port Authority CEO, Allard Castelein: ‘Hydrogen will play a central part in the new, carbon-neutral economy. It will also provide Rotterdam with the opportunity to continue its key role in the Dutch economy as an international energy hub. To achieve these objectives, we are working on a series of concrete projects along the entire chain, from production and infrastructure to consumption and import. The DRIFT report both confirms and enriches our approach in this area, and underlines the importance of the projects we are working on.’ Upcoming projects in Rotterdam include the realisation of electrolysers by Shell, BP and Nouryon for

the production of green hydrogen, a blue hydrogen facility by the H-vision consortium, and the construction of a dedicated hydrogen pipeline that runs straight through the port area. In Rotmans’ analysis, scaling up hydrogen supply and demand will prove of crucial importance – a process that is both lengthy and requires large-scale investments.

First mover’

Through these projects, Rotterdam is emphatically positioning itself as a ‘first mover’. According to the DRIFT report, this is an important position to occupy and one that in the past has clearly enabled the port to strengthen its competitive edge. Rotmans: ‘You need vision, guts and leadership if you want to establish yourself as a first mover. Rotterdam has shown these qualities through previous ventures like its investment in Europe’s first large-scale container terminal. Ultimately, this also laid the foundations for the current prominence of its industrial and logistics cluster. Leadership is in Rotterdam’s genes.’

Port Vice Mayor Arjan van Gils confirms hydrogen’s importance to Rotterdam: ‘As city government, we are pleased to help make our port and industrial sector more sustainable. Hydrogen will play an important part in renewing our economy and creating new employment in the region, and it will help us to realise our climate targets. We didn’t get this far in Rotterdam by sitting on our hands. If we successfully exploit the opportunities that we are presented with, we can make huge strides when it comes to promoting sustainability in our region.’


Unifeeder contracts We4Sea for fleetwide vessel performance monitoring



Unifeeder contracts We4Sea for fleetwide vessel performance monitoring. Image: We4Sea B.V.
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Unifeeder A/S and We4Sea B.V. have signed a cooperation agreement to roll-out the We4Sea Digital Twin based performance monitoring solution across Unifeeder’s fleet. Aim is to reduce the ships’ fuel consumption and emissions.

The Unifeeder Group is an integrated logistics company with the largest feeder network and rapidly growing shortsea business in Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia region with connectivity to more than 150 ports. 

Unifeeder plays a critical role as a facilitator of integrated global and regional supply chains, simplifying the complex tasks of choosing and managing supply chains by providing efficient and sustainable transport solutions. 

Michael Bonde, COO of Unifeeder, says: “Unifeeder wants to be an active participant in finding innovative solutions, through different partnerships and by being a business-driven IT organization. We are working with AI and machine learning platforms to provide significant operational benefits to our vessels and minimize the environmental impact.”

Digital Twin performance analysis

We4Sea focuses on increasing fuel efficiency and lower emissions of seagoing vessels by using a Digital Twin. The Twin provides shipowners and charterers with improved performance insights.

To generate the best results and increase fleet sustainability, Unifeeder and We4Sea  have agreed to roll out the monitoring solution across the entire Unifeeder group fleet. 

With its Digital Twin technology, We4Sea builds a digital sister vessel with all relevant technical characteristics of the real vessel. This data is enriched from other sources, such as data on speed, draught, weather conditions, wave heights, currents and wind.  

Optimising vessel efficiency 

The Digital Twin transforms this big data pool into actionable management information. The technology does not require onboard hardware installation  and is therefore ideal for charterers, such as Unifeeder. 

The solution supports full transparency. Charterers can continuously monitor fuel consumption, carbon and sulphur emissions of their chartered vessels in real-time via an online dashboard. 

Dan Veen, Co-founder and CEO of We4Sea, says: “Realtime monitoring and reporting is the first step in improving fuel-efficiency. Optimising fuel consumption of Unifeeder’s fleet based on the findings will not only have a direct impact on financial results, but also improves operational efficiency and CO2 and SOx reduction. We are looking forward to working with Unifeeder and getting results fast.”

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Port joins Hunter group pursuing United Nations sustainability goals



Port joins Hunter group pursuing United Nations sustainability goals. Image: Port of Newcastle
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Port of Newcastle is one of seven Hunter institutions that have united to advocate for and drive local adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Group members – PON, City of Newcastle, Compass Housing Services, Hunter Water, Kumalie, Port Waratah Coal Services and University of Newcastle – have committed to raise awareness and actively implement the SDGs in the region.

Port of Newcastle’s Environment, Planning and Sustainability Manager, Jackie Spiteri, said the move was part of efforts to become a more sustainable and responsible organisation.

“The UN’s 17 SDGs form the blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all by addressing the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice,” Ms Spiteri said.

“We have joined other leading Hunter institutions to create a shared vision in this area, build our region’s capability and look at what that looks like in practice, including how that affects the supply chain, procurement and strategic direction of each party.”

Port of Newcastle last month released its 2019 Sustainability Report, which measures the organisation’s progress in achieving its sustainability commitments and its contribution towards the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the Hunter and regional New South Wales.

It is also moving to 100% renewable energy by 2021 and is continuing to transition all its vehicles to electric by 2023.

Ms Spiteri said a STEM scholarship program for Aboriginal students, currently being developed through a partnership with University of Newcastle, and programs to promote the empowerment of women in maritime, were just part of the Port’s broader commitment to sustainable and responsible operations.

“Minimising our environmental footprint, diversifying trade and creating a more resilient economy requires a determined, long-term effort, with co-operation between the Port and its stakeholders,” Ms Spiteri said.

“While we look to what the Port could be in the decades ahead, it is clear there are things we can do today to make the way we operate the port more sustainable and responsible.”

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Yang Ming fulfills green promise carbon emission reduced 51% in 2019



Yang Ming fulfills green promise carbon emission reduced 51% in 2019. Image: Flickr/ JAXPORT
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To achieve the pursuit of global sustainability and respond to customers’ growing awareness about environmental issues, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. formulated plans to build an echo-friendly fleet a decade ago with the aim to proactively enhance ship energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emission.

In 2019, Yang Ming fleet’s average carbon intensity (CO2 emissions per transport work) per Teu/Km significantly reduced by 51% compared with the level in 2008, from 99.4 g/teu-km to 48.1 g/teu-km, accomplishing the IMO target of reducing carbon intensity by at least 40% by 2030, eleven years ahead of schedule. Through continuous fleet optimization, Yang Ming has fulfilled its promise of energy saving and emission reduction.

GHG emission plays a critical role in climate change mitigation. In this respect, IMO has adopted strict regulations to address the issue and set the goals to cut global shipping carbon intensity by at least 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050 when compared to 2008.

To achieve the targets, Yang Ming has formulated several long-term strategies, including implementing 12 vessel modification and optimization projects, and accelerating the vessel renewal plan by eliminating vessels over 20 years of age and adding ten 2,800 TEU class, twenty 14,000 TEU and fourteen 11,000 TEU class echo-friendly smart vessels.

In addition, Yang Ming has cooperated with weather service provider Weathernews Inc. to build a monitoring system to manage fuel consumption and reduce GHG emission, and further evaluate the possibility of developing duel-fuel engine such as LNG or other engines that can perform with carbon-neutral alternative fuels.

As for sulphur oxide emission, Yang Ming ensured an early transition to use low sulfur fuel oil at Kaohsiung port and Shenzhen port in 2018. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Yang Ming’s fleet has switched to very-low sulphur fuel oil with sulphur content lower than 0.5% and reduced sulphur oxide emission by 80% compared to traditional heavy fuel oil.

Furthermore, Yang Ming has actively participated in vessel speed reduction programs initiated by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Taiwan International Ports Corporation, LTD to well protect the marine ecology.

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