Port of Dover aims for the greatest ambition on green shipping corridors
Decarbonising the world’s busiest maritime corridor will deliver a seismic boost to the UK’s recently announced green shipping ambitions that include the US, Norway, and the Netherlands.
These were the words of Christian Pryce, chief commercial officer of the Port of Dover, speaking recently in Sharm el-Sheikh at COP27 on a panel of governmental and industry maritime experts.
“One year on from the Clydebank Declaration, in which the UK and 23 other states set out their ambition to collaborate on green shipping corridors, it is encouraging to see progress being made and we are determined to deliver even more,” said Pryce. “We want to secure meaningful decarbonisation for the UK and international supply chains, and so have made it our mission to work with our partners on both sides of the Short Straits, as together we fully commit to achieving a high-volume green shipping corridor with France.”
The Port of Dover is the busiest international ferry port in the UK, with two million cars and 11 million passengers passing through the Port every year. Dover also processes 2.4 million trucks per year, more than all other UK ports. In total, the Port of Dover is responsible for handling £144bn of trade or 33% of the UK’s trade in goods with the EU and 59% of UK-EU ferry journeys, supporting just-in-time supply chains and businesses across the nation.
Having the fastest transit times and the most frequent services situated alongside the world’s busiest shipping lane, Dover already leads the way in how much activity takes place here. The port is equally determined to lead the way by delivering a profound improvement in the overall carbon footprint of UK supply chains, which can be done much faster because of its geographic advantage.
Having unveiled its ambitions to the government in May, the Port of Dover took a significant step forward in becoming the UK's first high-volume green shipping corridor when, in September, the government awarded it funding for the Green Corridor Short Straits consortium's feasibility study to establish a zero-carbon trade route.
The project partnership includes the French sister ports of Calais and Dunkirk, the three ferry operators – P&O Ferries, DFDS and Irish Ferries, the University of Kent, Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick), Schneider Electric, Ikigai Capital, JG Maritime Solutions, SSE and ABB.
Pryce continues: “Spurred on by the government’s recent backing of our efforts to develop a high-volume green shipping corridor, we will progress our work with France and look forward to it being included in the nations with which the UK is formally collaborating. Given the urgency to reduce maritime emissions, there needs to be the greatest possible ambition in how this task is pursued. A high-volume green shipping corridor, delivering 130 ferry movements each day across the Short Straits being included with other shipping routes will be a transformative win for the UK. We are leading the charge, working together across the public and private sector with government, industry, and academia.”
“We will work together for a single joined-up solution. We’re a proud maritime nation in the UK and we want to be able to enhance and share our learnings as much as possible” added Pryce on the panel.
The importance of the UK’s role as a leader and source of knowledge was echoed by Baroness Vere on the panel, who commented: “The UK will continue to lead and take an enlightened and forward-thinking view. We want our ports to work with other ports and share knowledge.”
Being the busiest maritime corridor in the world, the Short Straits carries a significant emissions footprint. As one part of that corridor, the Port of Dover has been working hard over several years to decarbonise, having already reduced its own carbon footprint by 85% since 2007. Earlier this year it announced ambitious net-zero targets, placing it at the vanguard of decarbonisation within the UK ports industry.
The first two targets are to be carbon net-zero by 2025 (Scope 1 & 2 - direct emissions from operations and indirect emissions from purchased energy) and carbon net-zero by 2030 (Scope 1 & 2 and defined Scope 3 - all other emissions associated with activity). The Port’s third target is to become the world’s first (high-volume) Green Shipping Corridor and so upcoming and wider progress on the corridor is set to include cleaner tonnage, particularly two new hybrid ‘super ferries’ that will be an important step forward towards decarbonisation of this critical route. This could also be supported by improved infrastructure, including making greater use of the Port of Dover’s topography, which allows for new bespoke solutions, such as energy storage (battery and hydrogen) and new power connections and links.
“A high-volume green shipping corridor with France will not only help reduce the stubbornly high emissions from the UK transport sector but will also display British-led global best practice when it comes to decarbonising not only shipping and maritime but the wider UK supply chain. With volume on this route set to grow – the market wants and chooses Dover over other options – it is vital that we take meaningful action now, and we are doing so with our partners as this can only succeed through strong and continuing collaboration,” concluded Pryce.
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