Decarbonisation measures being implemented by the European maritime sector have been shown to EU and national policymakers who visited a Belgian port as part of European Shipping Week activities.

Hydrogen tug

The Port of Antwerp will be home to the first tug powered by hydrogen. Image: Port of Antwerp

Representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the permanent representations of Member States were shown green initiatives at the Port of Antwerp including shoreside electricity and the development of alternative fuels such as hydrogen and LNG.

“Ports can make a significant contribution in the energy transition,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port of Antwerp, which aims to become a CO2-neutral port.

Recently it was announced that the Port of Antwerp will be home to the first tug powered by hydrogen. This ultra-low-emission tug is being built by Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a pioneer in the field of hydrogen power for shipping.

Critical emissions reductions

The visit took place as the maritime community continues to work towards meeting the IMO's ambition to at least halve GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050.

“Apart from our active participation in the Climate Action Programme with other major ports and the UN 'Getting to Zero' Coalition, we are working towards becoming a CO2-neutral port,” said Mr Vandermeiren. “Together with our partners we prepare for a low-carbon future. We are in a constant search for innovative applications and opportunities. This visit from the EU policymakers offers us an opportunity to show them, by means of concrete projects, which progress we are making."

ECSA secretary general, Martin Dorsman, added: "Decarbonisation can only happen through the combined efforts of the whole maritime cluster."

By Rebecca Jeffrey