The Port of Antwerp has taken an important step forward in the fight against port-related air pollution. Seagoing ships belonging to Independent Container Line (ICL) will henceforth be able to use a shore-based electricity supply when they are lying at berth. As a consequence they will no longer have to run their onboard engines to generate power. The environmental impact of this investment is significant as it relates to the emission of NOx, CO2 and other particulates.

Shore power is already available in Antwerp for barges, as well as the Port Authority’s tug and dredger fleet, floating cranes and dry dock complex. Soon also it will be supplied to pleasure craft and houseboats. However, until now, it has not been available to seagoing ships, the segment that in view of its size has the most powerful effect on environmental performance. On Monday, May 18, 2009, Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters flipped the switch supplying shore power to the first ICL vessel.

This project, a collaboration between Independent Maritime Terminal (IMT), the Port Authority and the Flemish Community, changes all that. In fact, it is a world first. The project is unique not only in terms of the amount of power that has to be generated but also in terms of the types of ships served and the technical facilities that are necessary. The IMT terminal is dedicated to ICL, which has already equipped three of its four ships to make use of this shore power facility.

The Port Authority attaches a great deal of importance to this project, as shore power forms an integral part of its approach to combating air pollution on a local scale. In fact, shore power benefits the environment in various ways. To begin with there are direct, significant reductions in emissions of a range of pollutants such as CO2, NOx, SO2, VOS, N2O, CO and particulates. Using shore power cuts CO2 emissions by more than half and NOx emissions by as much as 97%, while CO emissions are practically eliminated. These reductions also make an important contribution towards combating the greenhouse effect.

The total investment cost of the shore power facilities amounts to 1,117,829 euros, with IMT receiving financial support from the Port Authority and the Flemish Community. By supporting the shore power project, Antwerp Port Authority is also helping to meet its commitment for practical, port-related measures contributing towards implementation of the particulates action plan drawn up at the end of last year by the Flemish Government, Antwerp City Council and the Port Authority itself.