The Port of Rotterdam is the largest European port and among the top twenty ports globally, loading and unloading over 468.7 million tonnes of cargo in 2021. As such, its operations can significantly impact the logistics pathway to zero emissions. To drive decarbonization efforts and build a strategy based on reliable data, the Port of Rotterdam was looking for a solution to quantify emissions of all transport activities in and around the port.
Previously freight emissions calculations were done sporadically through studies that relied on different assumptions and datasets, making it challenging to compare the emission level over time and track the progress toward the net zero target. Within the New Business & Portfolio team focusing on the energy transition Douwe van der Stroom recognized the limitations and began an overhaul of emissions tracking practices, ultimately initiating the project that led to the development of a new product – PortXchange EmissionInsider.
The PortXchange EmissionInsider is powered by BigMile technology that allows for optimization and reporting on multimodal transport-related carbon emissions.
Being the launching customer of PortXchange EmissionInsider, the Port of Rotterdam is taking a step towards using sound data to prioritize emission reduction strategies, standardize reporting, and enable its port community and customers to achieve their own decarbonization goals. “The EmissionInsider helps us to visualize emissions from all 4 modalities – sea-going vessels, barges, trucks, and rail. Equipped with this data, we can pinpoint the emission sources and develop the targeted approach to lower them,” stated Douwe van der Stroom.
Ships are the single largest source of transport-related port pollution; that’s why the EmissionInsider provides granular reporting on emissions per vessel, type, facility, etc. It also gives insight into vessel emission levels when berthed at the quay, information that is useful in developing shore power projects.The solution can clarify how much air pollution shore power connections prevent. Additionally, EmissionInsider calculates voyage emissions from upstream and downstream ports.
In regards to trucks and rail, the platform provides a high-level emission overview. “Thanks to BigMile technology, for the first time ever, we had a number for our traffic emissions in the port. Now, together with trucking companies and shippers, we can start working on enriching this data further and look into solutions to decarbonize,” added van der Stroom.
The EmissionInsider is used across different teams in the Port of Rotterdam, and it helps in three key areas.
The Port of Rotterdam is committed to leading the way in the energy transition and being an accelerator of sustainability in the port itself. Setting rigorous emission reduction targets is a crucial step on the journey towards a green port. “Last year, we used so-called science-based targeting to calculate the emission reduction amount required to pull its weight to keep global warming below the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit. EmissionInsider provided the output for that target and will allow us to report on our progress annually,” explained van der Stroom.
Prioritize decarbonization projects
The Port Authority works on a series of projects to reduce emissions’ footprint, from renewing the energy system to optimizing port call operations and determining optimal connections via the most sustainable modality. EmissionInsider helps the team decide on which initiatives to focus on and where the largest untapped potential for decarbonization lies.
“Our Opportunity Managers use EmissionInsider during the project intake to show how many emissions we can reduce. For example, before starting the canal expansion in Maasvlakte 2 we analyzed the potential impact. Prior to the expansion, we had one-way traffic, so incoming vessels had to anchor before entering the port, unnecessarily emitting. Also, because it was a narrow canal, a lot of tug boats were needed to guide the vessel inside the port. So we used EmissionInsider to measure the current emission level and what we can potentially save by deploying fewer tugs and reducing anchorage time. Even before starting the project, we could assess its effectiveness,“ clarifies van der Stroom.
Also, decarbonization initiatives subsidized by European or Dutch Governments are ranked on the emissions they can save. Now the Port of Rotterdam has the tool to assess the potential impact of those projects while applying for subsidies.
Enable others to reach their decarbonization goals
Finally, with EmissionInsider, the Port of Rotterdam enables its port community and customers to cooperate and take a holistic approach towards zero-carbon economies. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and looking for ways to do business more sustainably. For example, recently, a number of shippers decided to operate their supply chain through the Port of Rotterdam based on emission values provided in EmissionInsider.
“We are also very excited that PortXchange will offer EmissionInsider to other ports. Carbon emissions don’t stop at the border, and we need to work with other Port Authorities on decarbonizing the shipping industry,” concludes van der Stroom.