Rotterdam and Singapore collaborate on green shipping corridors, aiming for zero-emission maritime transport by 2050.
Rotterdam's port, connected by water taxis, is evolving from its historic maritime glory to a green future. The city's shipping legacy is evident at the 122-year-old Hotel New York, once the Holland America Line's headquarters.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority, operating from a skyscraper, is now focusing on reducing shipping emissions. As Europe's largest port, it's collaborating with Singapore's port authority. Together, they're establishing the first long-distance green shipping corridors.
These corridors will see cargo ships using only zero or low emission fuels. Rotterdam and Singapore are preparing by building storage for green fuels like ammonia and methanol.
Ammonia, made from hydrogen and nitrogen, is considered green when produced with renewable energy. Similarly, methanol, a type of alcohol, can also be produced sustainably.
In September, the first green container ship, Laura Maersk, sailed between Singapore and Rotterdam. It ran on methanol, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by up to 65%.
The green corridors idea originated at COP26 in Glasgow. The Clydebank Declaration, signed by 22 countries, pledged to create six corridors by mid-decade.
COP28 in the UAE announced new corridors, including Canada to Korea and Japan, one in the Caribbean, and another from Houston to Antwerp.
The International Maritime Organisation aims for net-zero emissions in shipping "by or around" 2050. However, currently, only 0.6% of cargo ships run on alternative fuels. Just 15 to 16% of new orders include dual or alternative fuel vessels.
Companies like Amazon, Ikea, and Patagonia are demanding greener shipping. Amazon, part of the Zero-Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance, renewed a low-emission contract with Maersk.
North Sea Container Line is launching an ammonia-powered ship between Norway and Germany. Hoegh Autoliners is building 12 ammonia-ready ships for transporting cars and trains.
Lynn Loo, CEO of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, predicts a significant increase in ammonia production by 2050. She states, “There needs to be a dramatic rise in the number of vessels capable of transporting ammonia from the 200 that are on the water today. There also needs to be significant infrastructure buildout to support the much higher throughput of ammonia in the future.”
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