NatPower Marine and Peel Ports Group plan first ‘green shipping corridor’ between UK and Ireland

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In a ground-breaking new collaboration that could provide a blueprint to drastically cut global shipping emissions, NatPower Marine and Peel Ports Group, a major UK port operator, today announce plans to establish the first “green shipping corridors” between Ireland and the UK.

The proposed project would see NatPower Marine develop the UK’s first commercial electric ship (e-ship) charging network to support electric propulsion and cold ironing (the process of accessing clean power while docked to avoid significant engine pollution while at the port), as part of a global network.

The network – which would require an estimated £100m investment from NatPower Marine – would see this dedicated e-ship charging infrastructure delivered across all eight UK and Irish ports operated by Peel Ports Group. The master plan would also include electric car, van and HGV chargers installed for commercial electric vehicles passing through the ports.

Over 3,000 vessels cross the Irish Sea every year, emitting 230,000 tonnes of CO2, 20,000 tonnes of nitrous oxide (NOx), and 18,000 of sulphur oxide (SOx). Connecting these to onshore electric charging when in port could dramatically reduce these emissions, supporting climate goals and improving local air quality.

The first Irish Sea routes identified in the proposals include Belfast-Heysham and Dublin-Birkenhead. This would support Peel Port Group’s ambitions for Heysham Port in Lancashire to become the UK’s first ‘net zero port’. The port has already slashed the emissions of its landside plant, equipment and vehicles by up to 90%.

The plans mark the first step in a new £3 billion global charging network, planned by NatPower Marine for 120 port locations worldwide by 2030. NatPower Marine will develop the sites, in partnership with port operators, and act as the long-term operator of the global charging network.

Stefano Sommadossi (pictured), CEO at NatPower Marine, said: “NatPower Marine is investing to deploy the largest global network of charging points to help solve the ‘chicken and egg conundrum’ facing this industry: shipping lines cannot electrify their vessels if port charging infrastructure is not available, and ports are unable to raise capital for charging infrastructure without certainty of demand from shipping lines.

“With marine trade set to triple by 2050, we urgently need to build the global network of clean energy charging infrastructure the industry desperately needs. Our partnership with Peel Ports Group is the first step in this strategic approach to accelerate the adoption of clean energy in shipping and help cargo owners to reach net-zero.”

Claudio Veritiero, CEO at Peel Ports Group, said: “The proposals presented as part of this partnership are potentially game-changing, and fully support our ambitions to become a net-zero port operator by 2040. We look forward to working closely with NatPower Marine to explore the possibilities for establishing the first green shipping corridor between the UK and Ireland, and further enabling support for our customers, shipping lines and hauliers as they transition to a greener future.”

Separately in the UK, Freeport East and East Midlands Freeport have agreed a partnership to establish an overland green freight corridor between the two ports.

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