Coinciding with United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Hutchison Ports-owned Port of Felixstowe has announced a major investment in new equipment to help decarbonise its operations.
United Kingdom's largest container port has placed orders for 48 battery-powered terminal tractors and 17 zero-emission Remote controlled Electric Rubber-Tyred Gantry cranes (ReARTG).
The new two-wheel-drive tractor units which will be supplied by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co Ltd (ZPMC) are the first electric tractors to be delivered at the Port of Felixstowe. In addition, the cranes which will be fitted with the latest semi-automation technology will be supplied by the Finnish port equipment provider Konecranes.
Commenting on the investment, Chris Lewis, CEO at the Port of Felixstowe, said, "This order represents the latest part of our plan to reduce the environmental impact of our operations."
In total, the replacement of 48 diesel-powered tractor units and 17 conventional rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTG) with new electrical equipment is expected to save 6,662 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 59.38 tonnes of Nitric oxide (NOx) emissions every year, according to the port's CEO.
"We have reduced our carbon footprint by 30% since 2015. That has been achieved through a range of measures including the first phase of our programme to phase out diesel-powered yard cranes, stated Lewis who went on to point out, "These latest acquisitions will help drive further substantial reductions in the future and help us to reach our target of a further 20% reduction over the next 5 years."
To support the use of the new equipment the port will be upgrading its High Voltage (HV) electrical power distribution network and installing new electrical infrastructure to support the ReARTGs and 10 charging stations for the battery-powered terminal tractors.
"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and Hutchison Ports is committed to playing its part by minimising the impact of port operations on the environment," said Clemence Cheng, Managing Director Hutchison Ports Europe and joint chair of Hutchison Ports Group Sustainability Committee.
According to Cheng, the key strand of the British Port strategy is promoting a culture of technological innovation and adoption of alternative fuels.
Europe's eighth busiest port is also examining ways to build on the steps it has already taken to eventually reach net-zero. It is working with partners, including Ryse Hydrogen and Cranfield University, to explore the use of hydrogen-powered port equipment.
Last but not least, the Port of Felixstowe is involved in one of the projects selected to receive support from the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition to become a net-zero port and a net-zero energy hub for third parties and the adjacent region.