The second day of the GreenPort Congress delved into a range of topics including ESG (environmental, social, corporate governance), green finance, multimodal supply chains, decarbonisation regulations and projects and digital tools.
A key theme emerging from discussions was the influence of sustainable finance and decarbonisation regulation on the development of green ports.
Sustainability advisor Jackie Spiteri set the tone for the day with her presentation exploring how maritime organisations can embrace and integrate ESG into their corporate business model.
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“ESG really has emerged from the finance sector as they seek to be able to understand organisations on something other than their financial performance,” Ms Spiteri said.
She believes ESG provides a robust framework for stakeholders to be able to assess the risks and opportunities of their investments.
The key message of the morning’s presentations was to expect green financing to continue.
David Jenkins, global head of sustainable financing at National Australia Bank (NAB) said, “What we’re seeing is the focus on sustainable finance globally ratcheting up. Banks and financiers are increasingly focused on ESG risks and sustainability issues of the borrower.”
“You’ve got investor pressure, community pressure and stakeholder pressure across the board so this is a theme that will continue and will continue to gain traction globally,” he continued.
The regulator’s view
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was on hand to provide an update on regulation and the remarkable changes we’ve seen in the maritime sphere in decarbonisation in recent years.
AMSA’s manager of environment and strategy, Matt Johnston explained the position the industry was in 10 years ago, on an “unsustainable emissions trajectory”.
He said the catalyst for decarbonisation in shipping was the Paris Agreement in 2015 and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% by 2050 set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
“There will be a revised strategy negotiated and agreed this July. The new goal will almost certainly be around full decarbonisation by 2050, so the efforts are going to have to ramp up,” he said.
AMSA recently began implementing regulations to achieve the IMO’s short-term measure, to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030.
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The IMO is now turning its attention to other mechanisms, he said, such as market-based measures, locking in arrangements for alternative fuels and fuel standards.
“We won’t get to green ships if we don’t have green ports,” Mr Johnston said.
Onshore power will go a long way to reducing ship emissions, he believes, as well as green corridors, vessel speed optimisation – all topics taken up enthusiastically by other speakers throughout the GreenPort Congress.
The afternoon sessions focused on Green Logistics and multimodal supply chains.
Ivan Spanjic, CCO, Svitzer Australia commented in his presentation on the development of green shipping corridors and green port initiatives, “The Australian Government and industry partners need to take action to make biofuel a feasible option in the region.”
He said carbon-neutral towage operations in the country would not be possible by simply building different kinds of tugboats.
“We’re eager to be a foundation customer and are willing to work with the entire supply chain in this important transition opportunity,” he told delegates.
While tugboats may account for only 4% of total shipping carbon emissions globally, that’s still around 40 million tonnes of CO2 or the equivalent of seven
million cars per year.
Today’s solution is biofuel but uptake is hampered by gaps in the supply chain in terms of infrastructure, policy and legislation.
“Everyone talks about methanol which we also subscribe to, we also talk about batteries, but biofuel is just as effective, it’s just not as well known,” he said.
Mr Spanjic believes Australia has good access to green power and an abundance of potential feedstocks that are largely shipped overseas at present.
With access to affordable biofuel and the right regulatory settings, Svitzer has demonstrated its ability to offer carbon-neutral services to port customers.
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In eight ports in the United Kingdom the company offers its EcoTow service, using tugboats powered by HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil), a form of green diesel – performing around 18,000 carbon-neutral tug jobs in 2022 alone.
What’s needed to develop the same market in Australia?
“Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships,” Mr Spanjic said. “We’re all on our own paths to the same destination, a sustainable, low and ultimately zero carbon future.”
The third and final day of GreenPort Congress Oceania concluded with a technical tour of the Port onboard “The Princess” a 28.5 metre aluminium monohull vessel run by NOVA Cruises.
Source: GreenPort Congress Oceania