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Displaying items by tag: Maritime Transport

New binding targets for greenhouse gas reductions in shipping are among a range of measures agreed today (Friday 3 June) by EU transport ministers today to reduce emissions in the transport sector in the coming decade.

The new measures, which are to apply to all EU member states, have been negotiated over the last 12 months and agreed under the EU’s “Fit for 55” package: the flagship suite of legislation announced last July to ensure the bloc meets its 2030 climate targets. The EU is aiming for a minimum 55% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels.

With this agreement, the stage is set for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text of these important pieces of legislation.

Welcoming the agreement reached, Ireland’s Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan stressed the importance of the progress made: “This agreement is the result of almost a year of intensive discussions. It is imperative that the EU puts ambitious targets in place if we are to meet our collective goals for the climate.

“Action is urgently needed, not only for road transport but also to realise genuine emission reductions in aviation and shipping. Today’s agreement shows that the EU can be the global leader on climate change.”

Minister Ryan said that while Ireland had pushed for even greater ambition in certain aspects of the maritime and aviation fuel files, the council-agreed texts represent a strong step forward in transitioning towards more sustainable fuels in both sectors.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The 19th and latest edition of the Irish Maritime Transport Economist, a report produced by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) on Ireland’s maritime freight industry, has been published today (Monday 23 May) and makes for encouraging reading for the ports and shipping sector.

This edition reports on 2021, a year marked by the reorganisation of Irish supply chains following the end of the Brexit transition period, and a rebounding of demand in port traffic as COVID-19 restrictions were gradually eased.

The year under review was one of significant change in the RoRo freight market. With the end of the Brexit transition period came a surge in the demand for services on direct routes between Irish ports and mainland European ports.

RoRo traffic on these services rose by 94% compared to 2020. This demand was driven largely by a reduction in the use of the UK Landbridge. RoRo traffic to ports in Great Britain declined by 22% as a result of the shift in Landbridge traffic and also the redirection of Northern Irish traffic from ports in the Republic of Ireland to services through Belfast, Larne and Warrenpoint.

Direct EU traffic now represents one third of all RoRo volume, compared to 17% in recent years. In addition, LoLo traffic, the majority of which moves on direct routes to mainland Europe, increased to record levels, growing by 11% to just under 1.2m TEU’s.

Last year was also one of resurgent demand for Irish port traffic, as COVID-19 restrictions were gradually lifted and economic activity began its return towards pre-pandemic levels.

Break bulk traffic, made up largely of construction materials, rose significantly as Ireland’s construction industry regained momentum. Liquid bulk volumes increased gradually throughout the year and by the fourth quarter, were back at 2019 volumes.

In the RoRo passenger sector, numbers began to rise rapidly following the introduction of the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate which facilitated a return to international travel. 

And in the RoRo market, the number of weekly sailings to mainland European ports rose from 30 sailings per week to more than 60 at different points throughout the year. Two new entrants arrived into the RoRo market in 2021, such that now there are six shipping companies offering 13 different direct RoRo services to mainland EU ports, increasing capacity in what is a dynamic and competitive market. 

Commenting on the 19th edition of the IMTE, Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics, said: “I commend all stakeholders who contributed to the Brexit response and would like to express my appreciation for their efforts in maintaining Ireland’s connectivity to both GB and European markets.

“Ireland’s maritime industry was instrumental in maintaining a strong, connected economy throughout the monumental challenges of Brexit and COVID-19. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the ports and shipping sectors and express my thanks for the invaluable services they provide.”

Liam Lacey, director of the IMDO, commented on the year ahead: “There are many reasons to be positive about the future of the Irish shipping industry. Demand is expected to rise further in 2022 as the effects of COVID-19 dissipate, and the period of greatest Brexit-related uncertainty passes.

“However, many new challenges lie ahead. The IMDO will continue to monitor these closely and report on the impacts for the Irish maritime industry.”

The Irish Maritime Transport Economist, Volume 19 is available to read and download on the IMDO website HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Embracing connectivity is the theme of the third Pillar I workshop for the Atlantic Action Plan: ports as gateways and hubs for the blue economy.

Connectivity: Staying Connected for Trade, Tourism and Economic Growth takes place online on Thursday 16 September from 9.30am to 12.15pm IST. See the workshop agenda HERE.

The workshop will be examining the significance of connectivity in promoting trade, tourism and economic growth in the maritime transport sphere.

It will focus on the Atlantic area and highlight post-Brexit issues, digitisation, the growing importance of regional ports and regional development in general.

To take part, complete the registration form by Tuesday 14 September.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The European Commission and the Waterborne Technology Platform have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a co-programmed partnership under Horizon Europe aimed at making zero-emission maritime transport a reality within the next 30 years.

The partnership aims at leading and accelerating the transformation of waterborne transport (maritime transport and inland navigation) to eliminate all harmful environmental emissions (including greenhouse gas, air and water pollutants) through innovative technologies and operation.

By 2030, the objective is to develop and demonstrate deployable zero-emission solutions which are applicable for all main ship types and services, to enable the achievement of zero-emission waterborne transport by 2050.

The European Commission will invest up to €530 million to fund actions within the scope of the Co-programmed European Partnership. It’s also expected that private sector partners will invest up to €3.3 billion between now and 2030 in research, innovation and other priorities towards the partnership’s objectives.

Speaking after of the ceremony in Brussels yesterday (Wednesday 23 June) held as part of the European Research and Innovation Days, chairman of the Waterborne Technology Platform, Henk Prins said: “Today is a unique moment for the European waterborne transport sector, which is a strategically important sector for the EU. The partnership will not only foster and accelerate the transition to an environmental-friendly mode of transport, in line with the European Green Deal ambitions, but it will also stimulate the green recovery of the waterborne sector.

“The partnership uniquely gathers all relevant stakeholders from the waterborne transport sector, who join forces to deliver innovative solutions for the benefit of future generations. We look forward to the applications for the first round of calls for proposals, as well as mapping the state-of-play and monitoring the progress towards reaching our objectives.”

The Waterborne Technology Platform has been set up as an industry-oriented platform to establish a continuous dialogue between all waterborne stakeholders, such as classification societies, shipbuilders, shipowners, maritime equipment manufacturers, infrastructure and service providers, universities or research institutes, and with the EU institutions, including member states.

It comprises members and associated members from both maritime and inland navigation countries, representing about 18 EU member states. In addition, the Associations member of the Waterborne Technology Platform represent the broader waterborne sector throughout the entire EU.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The European TEN-T Coordinators for the Motorways of the Sea and the Atlantic and North Sea-Mediterranean Corridors have organised an online joint workshop on smart and sustainable maritime transport in the Atlantic and North Sea region post-Brexit over two days next week.

‘Ensuring connectivity between Ireland and continental EU post-Brexit: the role of maritime links’ next Thursday 22 April from 9am to noon Irish time will see representatives from the ports, shipping, business and logistics sectors come together for the first of exciting panel discussions.

This first half-day panel will focus on the impact of Brexit on Ireland’s maritime links to date, while the second will examine what the future holds for Ireland’s maritime connections to continental Europe.

Opening remarks at the event will be delivered by Minister of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton. To register for this panel, click HERE.

Then on Friday 23 April, the joint working group on ports will meet from 9am to 12.30pm Irish time for three panel discussions focussed on digitalisation, greening and hinterland connections of ports in the Atlantic and North Sea basins. To register for this second panel, click HERE.

Both events are co-organised by the TEN-T European Coordinators for Motorways of the Sea, Professor Kurt Bodewig; the TEN-T North Sea – Mediterranean Corridor, Professor Peter Balazs; and the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor, Professor Carlo Secchi. Find the full agenda on the IMDO website.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway is now inviting applications from suitably qualified candidates for a four-year full-time, fixed-term contract as a postdoctoral researcher.

Working with colleagues in SEMRU, the successful candidate will produce research aimed at increasing our understanding of the role of maritime transport in Ireland’s economic growth, environmental sustainability and societal development.

They will explore the interconnectedness between the maritime sector and other sectors of the economy. Additionally, they will assess port policies in Ireland and examine what reforms, if any, to port policies are needed in light of recent national and global economic developments.

The successful candidate will also construct new economic models to explore the strategic development of ports and related infrastructure and the development of port policies that contribute to a competitive and effective market for maritime transport services.

The position is funded by the Marine Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme, and further details are available from the IMDO website HERE.

Published in Jobs

#Brexit - The European Commission has published notices to stakeholders in maritime transport and in seafarers’ certificates in preparation for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

These notices are intended to facilitate preparation by EU-27 Member States and by wider stakeholders for the contingency that on 30 March 2019 the UK leaves the EU without a deal on a transitional period having been agreed (ie the no deal, disorderly Brexit scenario).

Draft legal text on a transition period, extending to 31 December 2020, is currently being negotiated with the UK. If, as part of the withdrawal process, this text is agreed and approved by EU member states and the European Parliament, many of the elements reflected in these notices will only become relevant at the end of the transition period.

However, in cases where UK ‘leading authorities’ conduct risk assessments, examinations, approvals and authorisation procedures under EU law, a leading authority in an EU-27 member state will need to take over from the UK authority from the withdrawal date (29 March 2019).

UK leading authorities currently provide product authorisations for certain medicines, pesticides, biocides, chemicals (REACH) and plant varieties. The commission has begun engaging EU-27 technical experts to seek to ensure that product authorisation processes transfer from UK leading authorities in the smoothest manner possible.

Full details are included in Marine Notice No 07 of 2018, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the European Sea Ports Organisation has developed a position paper calling on Brexit negotiators to prioritise maritime transport in the second phase of negotiations.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#EUonCo2 - The European Parliament voted in favour yesterday of the inclusion of CO2 emissions from shipping in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and the establishment of a maritime climate fund “in the absence of progress at international level” as from 2023.

Climate change being a global challenge and shipping being a global industry, European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) strongly believes that IMO is by far the right place to introduce CO2 target and measures to reduce emissions from shipping in line with the Paris Agreement.

In that respect, ESPO believes that the roadmap agreed at the IMO MEPC meeting last October is a starting point for the discussions. On the basis of available scientific evidence, the IMO needs to strengthen its efforts and submit an initial reduction target to the stock-take process of the Paris Agreement in 2018 accompanied by short-term measures. By 2023, IMO should introduce the necessary target and measures to bend down the CO2 emissions curve.

ESPO believes that a 6-year period until EU measures are put in place, is sufficient time for the IMO to discuss and agree on the necessary target and measures. 2023 must therefore be seen as a milestone. In case this deadline is not met, EU measures will have to be introduced. It should however be clear that in case of an international agreement by 2023, the EU measures are to be repealed.

“The Paris Agreement has delivered tremendous results due to the international cooperation and the active engagement of developing and developed countries. As climate change is a global threat and shipping an international sector, it’s clear that a regional approach is not preferable. The IMO is by far the right place to introduce a target and measures for shipping emissions. Today’s vote in Parliament should be seen as an encouragement for a global solution, given that the foreseen deadline of 2023 is respected. If, however, the IMO will not deliver an emissions reduction target and measures to implement it by 2023, an EU approach seems unavoidable. We therefore hope that the IMO will speed up the process and demonstrate the same level of ambition when addressing climate change as it did on the global air pollution cap agreed last October”, says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

Ports, coastal cities and their local communities are amongst the most vulnerable to extreme weather conditions resulting from global warming. Under the Paris Agreement all countries and all sectors of the economy need to take immediate action and to contribute to keeping the increase of the global temperature well below 2°C.

The EU and national climate measures that are currently being developed to implement the Paris Agreement, will oblige ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their land-based activities. These efforts should be accompanied by measures covering emissions generated at sea. The environmental reputation of the maritime and port sector is at stake.

Last October, IMO MEPC 70 agreed on a roadmap towards the development of a comprehensive strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. 2018 has been set as a milestone for defining an initial IMO strategy. This initial strategy will allow international shipping to take part in the first stock-taking meeting under the Paris Agreement in 2018 where all national reduction targets will be tested for being fit for purpose. This initial strategy would subsequently be adjusted based on the analysis of available data, and a revised strategy envisaged for spring 2023 will be finally adopted. The roadmap does not however make any commitment to setting an initial emissions reduction target as part of the strategy.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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