The Port of Dover and other thought leaders gathered in Dover last week to present the findings of the latest developments of the Green Corridor at the Short Straits’ project – part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) by the Department for Transport and Innovate UK.
Since January 2023, 10 consortium partners integral to the advancement of decarbonisation of ferries that operate between the Port of Dover and its sister Ports, Calais and Dunkirk have collaborated to determine the feasibility of electrification and the route map for the journey ahead. The work has now identified the challenges ahead to overcome but paints a bright future for decarbonisation at Port of Dover and secures the Port’s position at the vanguard of maritime decarbonisation.
The Port of Dover handles £144bn of trade every year, facilitates 59% of all ferry journeys between the UK and Europe and handles more international passengers than all other UK ports combined across a fleet of 13 ferries and up to 130 vessel calls every day. Achieving the decarbonisation of the Short Straits ferry route will, therefore, not only have a tangible impact on the overall carbon reduction of freight and passenger transport for the UK but will mark a new age for clean transport via spillover benefits for the entire short-sea sector, through the development of reproducible technology.
This work follows on from the first round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Project, which comprised a 7-month venture in 2022 to determine the technical and economic feasibility of electric power solutions for the Port of Dover’s ferries and was the first to forecast the potential power demand of electrification of the route and identify supply solutions for energy generation and battery charging scenarios.
In January 2023, the second round of the CMDC commenced with the 10 operational partners, which, alongside the Port of Dover, included the University of Kent, WMG, Schneider Electric, SSE, Ikigai Capital, JG Maritime Solutions, ABB, DFDS and Irish Ferries.
Extending and advancing the work of the first round of the CMDC, the second has identified the business case for the green corridor and a delivery plan and route map (University of Kent), undertaken a full value chain identification and analysis (Ikigai Capital), identified viable energy pathways (WMG – the University of Warwick’s arm for commercial partnerships – and Schneider and SSE) and reviewed of the regulations and policy necessary to deliver the transition (JG Maritime Solutions).
Headline findings include:
- Despite the Port of Dover being over 400 years old, it’s going to see the biggest ever change in its business model and operations through decarbonisation that is to come (alongside its sister ports in France).
- Decarbonisation of the route, due to the scale of the goods carried across the Short Straits will save 8% of UK international marine emissions.
- Extensive knowledge growth in technical provision is required to deliver decarbonisation of ferries at the Port of Dover – including a mean power demand of 60MW for 13 fully electric ferries and a peak demand of 162MW.
- Though several potential pathways to zero-emissions operations exist, electrification, combined with a decarbonised national grid, will result in the lowest drop in emissions. This will require new vessels and has the largest infrastructure impact, with the requirement for fast, high-power, and reliable electrical ship-to-shore connections.
- Though huge investment is needed, there is a strong business case for landside and marine-side decarbonisation and a viable pathway ahead.
Vicki Beatty, Head of Environment at the Port of Dover, said:
“The Port of Dover is leading the charge for decarbonisation of the maritime industry, working in partnership with government, industry, academia and across the public and private sectors. We at the Port, alongside the 9 other project partners of this work, are delighted to be sharing the findings of the latest phase of the Green Shipping Corridor at the Short Straits work; establishing the scale of the ambition required for the years ahead as we decarbonise one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.”
“Having already reduced our Carbon footprint by 95% since 2007, the Port is set to reach carbon net zero in our direct (scope 1 and 2) emissions by 2025, carbon net zero for defined scope three (certain indirect emissions) by 2030. This work by numerous project partners will be integral to delivering our collective carbon-zero ambitions through the creation of the Green Corridor beyond 2030.
“Our ambitions are strengthening every day and Dover’s green future is drawing closer. The next step to progress this work is the design of the physical connection for the future electric ferries – which represents the challenge of needing to be compatible across the three sister ports of the route, and the three ferry operators who maintain it – and the optimisation of ferry schedules to enable the charging of vessels.”
Simon Barnes, Partnerships Development Manager at the University of Kent, said:
“The University of Kent is thrilled to have helped deliver this leg of the Green Shipping Corridor project. Work conducted by the Centre of Logistics and Sustainability Analytics (CeLSA) at the University identified the business case of marine-side and land-side decarbonisation and the key challenges to be resolved to deliver the decarbonisation of ferries on the Short Straits route.
“The planning model the University has produced will be a great tool to deliver port and shipping’s transition to net zero and we look forward to continuing to support the Port of Dover, its French sister ports and ferry operators to progress their ambitions to decarbonise and look forward to our brighter, greener collective future.”
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Port of Dover
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About Port of Dover
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 deals with £144bn of trade in goods each year, and 33% of the UK’s trade with the EU, supporting businesses across the nation.
With a cargo business handling fresh produce, containers, project cargo, general cargo, grain and Ro-Ro traffic operating from a state-of-the-art terminal next to the world’s busiest shipping lane and on the quickest sea route to Europe, Dover is building for the future.
In addition, Dover is the UK’s second busiest cruise port, welcoming more than 25 cruise lines and 200,000 guests each year. The Port also has a marina and property business primed to benefit from a new waterfront.
The Port of Dover holds ambitious net zero targets, placing it at the vanguard of decarbonisation within the UK ports industry. More information on the targets can be found here. The Port’s focus on sustainability is driving it forward, enabling the team to keep the Port of Dover at the heart of international trade and tourism, and contributing value as a key gateway, employer, business and community partner.