Ships at ports: Practical measures to reduce GHG emissions [WEBINAR]

A few weeks ago, MarineTraffic and a host of industry experts came together to discuss the new practical steps for optimising port calls and making best use of the available time of a vessel while in port, as proposed by the Global Industry Alliance on Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) operating under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“The IMO is committed to knowledge-sharing and our GIA Ship-Port Interface Guide showcases eight practical measures which can support emission reduction at the ship-port interface. 

The MarineTraffic webinar provided a great platform for active participation by stakeholders – some of whom are already executing the measures – that led to an open discussion about the challenges and advantages to implementing these strategies. It is an extremely positive signal to see so much interest in GHG reduction from maritime stakeholders and is indicative of the industry’s commitment to greener operation”commented Astrid Dispert, Project Technical Manager at IMO.

During this interactive session, 587 attendees who joined live (and nearly 1,000 more on demand on YouTube) from over 104 countries around the world, had the opportunity to hear useful insights and also ask questions directly to our guest speakers. The audience also participated in a quick poll, voting on which measures will have an impact and should be prioritised. 

As seen in this image below, the results were very interesting and raised an engaging discussion afterward.

Nearly 50% voted that the optimisation of speed between ports is an important measure that would make an impact on GHG emissions and should be a top priority.

The session was moderated by MarineTraffic Executive Partner Argyris Stasinakis who said “we are pleased that the topic of port call optimisation with focus on reduction of GHG emissions is attracting considerable interest from the global maritime community. Ports are essentially hubs of services and information flow. The opportunity to apply impactful, practical measures is significant and challenging, since numerous and diverse stakeholders are involved. 

We are grateful to our Panellists for demonstrating current actions and proposed measures. We have received thanks from the audience and interest for partners to contribute to the broader cause. MarineTraffic will maintain momentum and contribute to thought leadership in this space.”

Watch the full webinar on-demand:

Argyris: Okay, very well. So, welcome to this webinar, hosted by MarineTraffic. My name is Argyris Stasinakis, and it’s a real pleasure to welcome you at Ships at Ports. We will discuss about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and practical measures that have been proposed by the Global Industry Alliance, which is operating under the auspices of the IMO. A guide has been recently launched, and it includes recommendations. And I have the pleasure to have here with me to discuss this Astrid Dispert, from the IMO. Astrid?

Astrid: Hello.

Argyris: Hello. Ben van Scherpenzeel, from the Port of Rotterdam, and chairman of the International Taskforce for Port Call Optimisation. Ben?

Ben: Good afternoon, everybody. And happy to be here. Thank you very much for the invite.

Argyris: Thank you, Ben. Ricardo Ungo is from the Old Dominion University, an expert in ports and logistics, and he’s at the Ports and Logistics Institute there, director. Hello.

Ricardo: Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.

Argyris: Thank you, Ricardo. And I have the pleasure to have two panelists from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Tanja Grzeskowitz, who is a principal environmental program specialist. Hello, Tanja.

Tanja: Hi. How are you? Welcome.

Argyris: Great to have you. And Rich Laraway. He’s acting general manager. Hello, Rich.

Richard: Good morning from New Jersey. Thank you.

Argyris: Good to have you. And indeed, good morning, good afternoon. We have an audience from all time zones, I expect, as usual for such kind of events. So, welcome, dear speaker, dear panelists, and welcome, great audience. Thank you for joining us today. The webinar will revolve with Astrid giving us an overview of the work that has been conducted as regards to the ship/port interface, and the measures that have been proposed. We will then ask your opinion about them, and we will discuss it with our panelists. So, I will mute myself, and if all panelists are not speaking, please mute. And Astrid, the floor is yours.

Astrid: Thanks a lot, Argyris. I hope you can hear me, and thank you for inviting IMO to speak and join this interesting webinar. It’s my pleasure to present, actually, work we are doing in collaboration with the industry. IMO’s working under the Global Industry Alliance with a lot of industry partners, including MarineTraffic, and also Port of Rotterdam that are here today. And I’m gonna try to share my screen and present. Let’s hope you can all see my screen now.

Excellent. I’m gonna present mainly work on the Global Industry Alliance to support low-carbon shipping, and the ship-port interface guide that we have very recently published, from the GIA, Global Industry Alliance. But let me just start giving a little bit of a policy framework background. I’m sure you’re all very aware of IMO’s initial greenhouse gas strategy that was adopted in 2018. I’m not gonna go through this slide in detail, but the initial greenhouse gas strategy sets out a vision and says that as a matter of urgency, we need to phase out emissions as soon as possible in the century from shipping.

So, as you can see here, there’s a very clear timeline, a very clear framework that has been created. A huge challenge ahead. But the strategy makes very clear the direction we are traveling and how emissions need to be cut. I think the most important target, as you can see here, is the 2050 target of at least a 50% reduction in total annual GHG emissions to be achieved by 2050, compared to the 2008 baseline.

The strategy, if you look at it, includes measures, short-term measures, mid-term measures, long-term measures, to support, obviously, achieving those targets. And IMO is at the moment working on developing those measures further, to enable us to achieve these targets. And maybe you are aware, just last week, there was a big meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the MEPC, that actually adopted the first set of mandatory amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, to mandate improvements in the operational efficiency of shipping.

Their strategy also makes reference to ports, and the importance that ports have to play in decarbonising the maritime sector. There is a short-term candidate measure included in the strategy that refers to ports. And IMO has also adopted a resolution on ports. There’s a resolution 323(74) that really tries to encourage the cooperation between ports and shipping. And if you look at this resolution, it includes different areas of action that the port could take to support emission reductions, such as the provision of onshore power supply, the provision of bunkering for alternative and zero-carbon fuels, which we know will be very important to achieving the emission reduction targets, as well as providing incentives for sustainable low-carbon shipping and action, such as optimising the port call.

And our group, the Global Industry Alliance, the work I’m gonna be presenting today, is, as you can see here, an alliance of 14 different companies. It includes shipping companies, ports, the Port of Rotterdam, data providers such as MarineTraffic, but also technology providers and classification societies. And we are collectively, with IMO, under the GreenVoyage2050 project. We are working to identify barriers to low-carbon shipping, and collectively, with the industry, trying to come up with solutions that can support the maritime sector in its transition to low-carbon shipping.

And we have very recently published a new guide, the Ship-Port Interface Guide, I’m sure we can share a link later with everyone, that is really there to provide some ideas of what measures could be taken up in a ship-port interface to reduce emissions and support IMO and the industry in achieving its targets. This guide has been developed by the GIA members, in collaboration with a lot of subject matter experts that have provided inputs to this work. I must caveat it. It’s not intended to provide fully-developed solutions, fully fleshed out, it’s really a publication that presents initial ideas that require more work and require more assessment.

But as you can see here, there are eight measures included in this guide. And we have selected these eight measures based on their potential application at a global scale. So, we think these can be applied today, with limited capital and operational investments. We think they are relatively easy and quick to implement, and have the potential to really contribute to emission reductions in the ship-port interface, and have additional advantages and benefits in terms of safety and security of shipping.

You’ll see some of these measures can be implemented individually, they can be implemented collectively, and that obviously would maximise the reduction impact. Some of these measures are applicable each time that the ship calls a port, like, obviously, the simops one and the preclearance one, and I will go through them very briefly in a second, while other of these measures are less frequent, like immobilisation or hull cleaning, but can have a real big impact on fuel consumption, and that’s why we have included this in the list.

The list is definitely not exhaustive. It’s just meant to serve and raise awareness of some of the very practical, tangible ideas that we have been able to identify. I must also say every port is different. So it’s really up to the port to have a look into this and see, and every port has different challenges and different characteristics, so it’s really, we would encourage ports to look at these ideas, and explore opportunities further for their individual ports. If you look at the guide itself, it provides information on what the measure is, and how it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also explains potential other advantages, as I said, on safety and security. It also includes information on the barriers. 

Why are these measures not actually done today?

We look at this list and we feel like maybe a lot of ports are already doing this, but in reality, many are not, and what’s really the reason for it. And I think we try to explain that in our publication. And we provide some preliminary potential solution and next steps as to how this could be implemented on a global scale. In the interest of time, I’m not gonna go in detail into every of these eight measures, but just allow me just to give a very short overview of each, because we’re gonna be discussing them going forward with you all.

So, the first one is facilitating immobilisation in ports

And as you can see today, in many ports, the maintenance and repairs of the main engines are performed at the lay-by berth. So it’s outside the normal ship schedule. As you know, most ships only have one main engine. So once repairs have started, the ship cannot really depart from her berth under own power, and this condition is called immobilisation, and many ports currently do not, or many port authorities currently do not allow immobilisation in ports. So, the measure, in turn, is allowing maintenance and repairs of main engines to occur, and simultaneously with cargo operations.

Maintenance can vary a lot. It depends on, obviously, what maintenance you’re doing to the engine, if you’re changing an injector or replacing a piston. But we have seen that this can take between 3 and 24 hours, so substantial time, that is added to the port call if this cannot be done simultaneously with cargo operations. 

What’s the greenhouse gas benefit from that? 

Obviously, we are able to optimise the time the ship spends in ports if you can, obviously, do your repairs and simultaneously do cargo operations. You also eliminate the need for the ship to transit to another location for this to be undertaken, as it is now that often, a ship needs to go to a lay-by berth to do main engine maintenance and repairs.

The second measure is about facilitating hull and propeller cleaning in ports. 

Many ports today do not allow hull and propeller cleaning during the port stay. So what we’re suggesting is allowing hull and propeller cleaning to take place in the port, and ideally, simultaneously also with cargo operations. That, again, will optimise the time ships spend in ports, eliminate the need for the ship to transit to another location to undertake hull and propeller cleaning, and obviously, the hull and propeller cleaning itself has an effect on greenhouse gases, as it reduces the resistance of friction on the hull, and with that, the fuel consumption of the ship itself. So a lot of benefits from a greenhouse gas perspective.

The third one is facilitating simultaneous operations, simops, in ports. 

Nowadays, many ports do not allow operations to occur simultaneously, so no simultaneous cargo operations, bunkering provisioning, and tank cleaning. The measure therefore would be to allow those operations to occur simultaneously. And that, again, can optimise the time that the ship spent in port, as the operations can be concluded in parallel, rather than in sequence.

The fourth one is about port stay, optimising the port stay by preclearance. 

Nowadays, we have operational delays on arrival during port operation and departure due to clearance processes in ports. As you know, as requirements for notifications and declarations, so, ships must provide to authorities certain forms for cargo and persons clearances, and these typical clearances are provided by customs, by immigration, by port authority, by port health.

There is additional type of clearances, sometimes depending on the ship types, related to clearance of the cargo. So, cargo sampling checks, to ensure the quality. And this really often results in delays on arrival and departure, as clearances from the relevant authorities have not been obtained. 

So, the measure here is really trying to facilitate all required clearances in advance, to really avoid any lost time there. We have in many instances, even ships need to wait at anchor to get clearances, and this is really about trying to eliminate that. This, again, would optimise the port call stay. We will eliminate with that unnecessary waiting time. And there is no need to recover delays in transit.

Number five is about improved planning of ships calling at multiple berths in one port.

Nowadays, what we see is that the port, the planning of a ship calling multiple port is very fragmented. And this results in really unnecessary shifting of the ship between berths and waiting times. And the situation today is that agents need to collect information from a lot of different sources. And this is usually done by phone. It’s very labour-intensive. Has a huge dependence on manual follow up if there’s any unforeseen changes. So if you have unforeseen changes in your port operations delivered to the ship, any unforeseen changes in the terminal completion times or completion of bunker provisions, or the booking of pilots and tax, this is all done, many times, manually nowadays, and that is obviously very inefficient.

This effect is even more pronounced when we have ships that call multiple berths, such as container feeders or chemical tankers, parcel tankers, as there is no real overview of the berth planning for multiple berths. So, as a result, as we say here, planning of the ships is really fragmented, is extremely manual, and we are suggesting improving this planning, which will then result in improved port turnaround times, and bunker savings in the subsequent voyage to the next the port call.

The number six, we are almost getting there, is about improving ship/berth compatibility through improved Port Master Data. 

Nowadays, what we have, the situation we have, is that many ports and terminals do not have easily accessible and high-quality data available on the maximum ship sizes that can be accommodated. Also, what we have is that many ports and terminals do not really have unique identifiers for individual berths that are used on a global level. And this really results in a misunderstanding, miscommunication, regarding which berth a ship should be going to.

And without that common understanding of which terminal and which berth the ship should be going to, it’s really difficult to obtain very accurate information on the maximum length and beam of a ship that a terminal can accommodate. And as a result, what we have is that the ship may not be optimised to the particular berth. 

And we think that improving Port Master Data, for example, by using AIS metadata, can really help improve that database and ensure that really the right ship is utilised for a particular berth. It’s really about optimising which ship is going to which berth. This can obviously improve or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because you’re optimising the utilisation of the ship, the ship size for a particular berth, so reducing GHG emissions per carrier to ton of cargo.

Number seven is about improving and allowing better optimisation of that weight through improved Master Data. 

Here, again, there is a lack of reliable and up-to-date information on Port Master Data in particular, regarding to depth. Depths at the water route, at the fairway, at the harbour basin, at the berth pocket. So, improving this data and making it more accurate and more available, and keeping that up to date, can support enabling optimising draught of the ship, because masters do not need to keep back margins or buffers in the under-keel clearance.

The last measure in our catalog is about optimising speed between ports. 

I think we have all heard quite a lot about just-in-time operations. We have a separate guide developed with this same group, the Global Industry Alliance, on Just-In-Time (JIT) and what it is, and how it can be implemented, hopefully globally. But it’s really about the optimisation of the port call, and providing, really, information and data on when the ship should be at the pilot porting place ahead of time and accurately.

So, we think just-in-time arrivals have also a great potential on emission reductions, because it allows the ship to optimise its speed into the port. And it can greatly reduce the time that ships spend outside the port maneuvering or anchoring, waiting for their berth. I think that brings me to the end of my presentation, and thanks a lot for listening.

I hope we, as a GIA, provided you with some ideas. And I think also, hopefully, we have been able to show the vast amount of opportunities that there are to implement cost-effective measures, and we call them “No-Regret Measures.” And we hope this is gonna spur some thoughts.

One more thing. All these measures you have seen, as they relate to the ship-port interface, will require triangular collaboration. It’s important to have collaboration between shipping terminals and ports, to port authorities to deliver this. 

I think it’s also clear that no one, no stakeholder alone is able to take these measures forward, so, really, the speed, and how much we can implement those measures will really depend on the strength of the collaboration among these players, and I think also, the willingness of stakeholders to play a part and play a role, even if they may not be the direct beneficiary of the measure itself, I think is very important.

With that, I hand over to Argyris. I would just like to take the opportunity to thank MarineTraffic, and obviously, all our GIA members that are very actively working with us at IMO on these initiatives and ideas, and I think it’s excellent work that has been done by the group so far. So, thanks a lot, and over to you, Argyris.

Argyris: You have been impressively efficient, as usual, in summarising such a wide content into a few minutes. Each one of these measures, in a way, you know, could justify its own webinar, its own discussion. But here we are, to just take this thinking a little bit forward. Before we continue with the discussion, now is the time to do a couple of things. One is to remind the audience that you can submit your questions in the Q&A button at the bottom of the webinar.

And also, that now is your time to actually say which one of these measures is the most appealing to you and you feel you would like to see it prioritised at your own port. 

Or maybe you are a shipping company at the ports that you’re calling at. So, we’ll just run a poll now. And if we can have the poll appear on our screens, please. There we go. And all we need you to do is, you know, you can select more than one. Simply click on the ones from these measures that seem to be most appealing to you and should be prioritised. You can click more than one, and once you do that, simply then click on the submit button. It will stay open for a few more seconds. Let’s give it another, let’s say, 20 seconds for you to read them through and click on the ones that you feel are most important and should be prioritised over others.

Each one of you would have your own line of work to consider in this. Okay, let’s give it another five seconds. And okay, so, I think it’s more or less time now to close the poll. And thank you very, very much for all of you who contributed. Is it possible to see the results now of the poll, please?.

So, that’s not bad. Each one of them has received some attention. Perhaps not surprisingly, the optimisation of speed between ports, which is also linked to previous discussions that we have had on just-in-time arrival is the most popular option here, nearly 50%. 

But we also see simultaneous operations in ports, optimisation port, of the port call by preclearance, faring very, very strongly. Even the multiple berths in one port being there. So, that’s great. Really, thank you very much, dear viewers, for voting here. We will publish this in a blog post after the webinar.

So, let’s proceed now with the discussion. And what I would like to do is actually go to Tanja, and the Port of New York, New Jersey. So, you guys were not involved in this work around those quick wins of measures. 

What is your initial reaction to them as you have become familiar with them? Do you see some value there? Very quickly.

Tanja: Yes. I mean, we have to take a look at it. I have to discuss it with various other people before we make a comment on it. I think as a general measure, we do hear often enough shore power as a way to reduce emissions, and we’ve had some experience with that. We don’t run it per se. It’s also important to note that we’re, like, a landlord port, so we don’t necessarily are in charge of operations. It’s handled by our marine terminal. There’s two public berths, right? I think Richard can speak more than that.

But our involvement in that sense, on a lot of what goes on at berth is limited. And we’re also not a regulatory agency per se, so we rely on federal or state government to take action, and mandate certain things. But these seem very reasonable things, to me, at least. So I’m sure there’ll be stuff to discuss. We overall, like, do offer incentives to reduce emissions. We are intensely focused on it. We’re the first agency, public transportation agency, that joined the Paris Climate Accord, or basically agreed to the targets set by it. New York and New Jersey both have aggressive targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

So we, I basically manage the program, it’s called the Clean Vessel Incentive Program, that goes into vessel speed reduction, and it’s a scoring system. And basically, we incentivise people to slow down and to register with ESI. But that’s…you know, I can discuss further if people are interested.

Argyris: Yeah, no. It’s great that you actually already mentioned that ESI, the Environmental Ship Index. What kind of incentives do you give to vessels calling at your port around that?

Tanja: Well, we give…it’s a scoring system. So, based on an ESI score, they could potentially earn money. They can earn money based on vessel speed reduction for the last part into the harbor, which we extend beyond what’s required by federal law. And depending on how many vessel calls you have, you can rack up substantial incentive payments over a quarter. Usually, the payments happen every quarter. So, our Clean Vessel Incentive Program is funded by approximately $1.5 million.

Argyris: Okay, that’s great stuff. Talking about ESI, I think, to do…I think in Panama, they also look into that. And I’m looking at Ricardo simply because he has experience from Panama. And there was also a question in the Q&A about how all these measures potentially apply there. Would you like to tell us a little bit more about how significant canals such as Panama might be proceeding such kind of measures, and indeed, what actually drives them in their environmental agenda?

Ricardo: Sure. Well, basically, when we consider all these initiative, probably we need to always go back to the drivers of all the environmental changes, and then we need to remember that probably the main driver of all is the community. And we want all those changes, because the community, that is, nearby ports, or nearby canals, or marine terminal facilities, those are the main driver for many of the changes. 

For example, in my previous experience in the Panama Canal, you could see that the companies or the institutions are trying to extend the environmental stewardship, specially for the community, and the first goal is adopt themselves the carbon neutrality as a goal. And then later on, then, it becomes the objective of offering an incentive to other companies to also to follow the same environmental guidelines. For example, in Panama Canal, they have a very successful program that is offering an incentive. This is like a real environmental reward program for following or adopting specific environmental guidelines, such as the Environmental Ship Index, and so on.

Argyris: Well, thank you, Ungo. Ben, looking into Rotterdam, leading a European port, how do you see measures such as the ones that have been proposed being taken on board. I think that some of them are already applied there, aren’t they?

Ben: Well, we are working on all of them, on all eight measures, as we speak. And some of them were already started a few years back, because some of these measures take more time to implement, such as changing from a local chart data for depths to an international chart data, which requires cleanup of databases. 

So, in brownfield environment, as in the Port of Rotterdam, that requires cleanup of a legacy of data, which is time-consuming, with other measures which were quickly to implement, like allowing hull and propeller cleaning, together with a national authority to grant permissions to companies to facilitate this, that is rather quickly.

That’s why these measures are also on the top of the list. They are rather quick and easy. And so, looking at all those eight measures, yeah, it depends on the top of the list, it’s already implemented. On the bottom of the list, where we are facing a legacy of data, or where we are working on a lot of stakeholders, like, just-in-time arrivals, yeah, that takes more time.

Argyris: And the just-in-time arrival takes more time. We know that many parties have been trying to do all sorts of initiatives, especially around data and data exchange, which can facilitate this. Talking about data, Rich, we’ve been talking about the Port of New York, New Jersey utilising data for all sorts of innovative purposes. Would you like to get us through your thinking, which definitely have also operational impact and environmental impact? Tell us a bit more.

Richard: Definitely. So, from Astrid’s presentation, we’re definitely interested in ship berth compatibility. But maybe more specific for a port authority like ours, we’re really interested in berth availability. So, as a port authority, as a landlord port authority, we have infrastructure responsibilities pier-side, whether that’s for wharf repair, fender replacement, or even maintenance dredging, to make sure that the depth of the berth pier-side is maintained to the design depth.

So, what we’ve been able to do is we’ve been able to leverage the data that MarineTraffic offers, to essentially understand berth utilisation, not only by TU, by capacity, but also by draft of the vessel. 

So therefore, as we go into a seasonal planning cycle for maintenance dredging pier-side, we can then plan and prioritise berths based on their utilisation, and take the berths offline, at the… I guess, within windows and timeframes that would provide the least disruption to the vessels that are due to call at that berth, and then ultimately, to the marine terminals.

And by doing so, we can hopefully reduce the amount of time that a vessel would spend at anchor, waiting for a berth to be available because of required maintenance dredging or because of required fender repairs. So, that’s just one example of how we’ve been able to use the real-time data that MarineTraffic does provide, to influence or to inform both maintenance and operations decisions here at the port.

Argyris: Okay, that’s interesting. And it kind of ties in with the various measures that I’m talking about, Port Master Data, and essentially ensuring that what you read on the Port Master Data does really indeed apply in reality for vessels to operate within a safe context. This is, you know, if we were to rotate back to Tanja there, I mean, looking into other environmental considerations around the New York, New Jersey area, haven’t you applied speed restrictions which relate to whales, and other…[…]

Tanja: Yeah, there’s a federal requirement that is in effect from, I think, November 1st through August…not…April. So, that requires ships to slow down, […] during that period, due to the right of whale law that we have in effect there. And because slow steaming also ultimately reduces emissions as the ships enter the harbor, we offer to extend that incentive so becomes an all-year-round requirement, basically. If you want to rack up enough points to get incentive payments, then it basically pays you to slow down during the last leg. And if you do that all year round, you can successfully get enough credits from us for that.

Argyris: And do you see adoption from your clients there?

Tanja: Some large container companies have been very, very successful at complying with the speed reduction, and then extending that all year round, and having it, you know, almost, like, the captains have slowed down on every call. So, that…it adds up, and because the ships are registered in the Environmental Ship Index, we are able to calculate an exact reduction of emissions.

Argyris: Okay, that’s very interesting. I mean, Ricardo, when you look into Panama, as we were discussing, or indeed, other similar setups around the world, other large ports or canals, are such kind of measures now, would you say, widely implemented? 

And I think, talking about, again, about Panama, I’m sorry, I think they were also looking into whale protection, isn’t that true, recently?

Ricardo: Yeah, for the whales, yes. In many places around the world, they are trying to look at the avoidance of collision with whales, and especially trying to delimit the specific approach area, let’s say, for canals, or for straits, or busy areas, and then try to slow down the vessels while you have the whale migration.

So, that is in many places. And that might be an opportunity also in the future for more integration and data sharing, in the sense that they…if there is more information about the exact location of the whales, then the exact location of the vessels, then we can really improve the collision rate. That is something that is a very good possibility in the future.

Argyris: You mentioned data sharing, and my mind goes automatically into something which is discussed much more lately, with essentially data sharing within port, port systems. And I know you have experience there. There are often challenges involved in data sharing. I mean, Ricardo, if you would like to say a few words about what your experience is there.

Ricardo: Well, when you look at the measures, you will notice that out of all measures, many of them, they require data sharing. And that is a crucial component for achieving the goal. And that brings to the forefront the concept of the digitalisation of the ports, or even the digital twin for the ports. Because in order to achieve that emission reduction, you need that information sharing. That can be challenging.

For example, there is a successful example of the Single Window initiative in Panama Canal, in which the vessels were boarded twice. One is for the Panama Canal, and one is for the authorities, at the berth. And then, that was reduced, because the ability of sharing information, and creating that repository for information and share that across institutions.

However, there are some challenges. The challenge is that once… You need the platform for the information sharing. So there should be an institution organisation that is going to make available that platform. So, if there is no port community system in place, then that might be a significant investment. And the second one is when you want to, let’s say, share information across supply share partners, or different agencies, the different agencies might mean different stages of IT integration, or the integration of their platform might not be easily achieved. Those are challenges that we need to take a look at it.

Argyris: Thank you very much, Ricardo, for that one. And Ben, I think naturally that goes to you. Rotterdam has been at the forefront of various initiatives which relate to data, data sharing, at pilot stage and at production stage at the moment. I mean, what do you see as success stories there, and indeed, as challenges going forward? Kindly turn your microphone on.

Ben: Thank you. For sharing data, we really need to have standards first. Otherwise, data sharing is a fantasy. So, we are fairly happy with the collaboration with the International Hydrographic Organization. If we want to share data about berth, terminal depths, etc., digitally, what non-technical standards do we have? 

So, the data definitions. What technical standards do we have to exchange the data? Because all of that, believe it or not, was not existing. So we were very happy with the International Hydrographic Organization to pick up the development of standards for nautical data. Likewise, for the International Maritime Organization, where we’re working together closely with the facilitation committee, to have an understanding how we can exchange data for administrative data, so, notifications and declarations to authorities, but also operational data, which is often linked, so, arrival times and departure times of ships, starting and completion times of services, how we can exchange this data.

Again, also, again, first agreeing on the non-technical standards, are we talking about the same definitions? And follow it up by collaboration with ISO, the International Standardization Organization, to have technical standards to exchange the data. So, as a port, before we change our databases, before we change any fundamental systems, it’s fairly important that we do this right from the start, and having the correct standards from both IHO and IMO. Thank you for the question.

Argyris: Thank you, Ben.

Astrid: Argyris, if you allow me, can I just add something on that?

Argyris: Yes, please.

Astrid: Because I’ve just seen there was a comment in the chat on whether IMO is looking to regulate just-in-time or not, and whether there have been any plans? And so far, there’s nothing been discussed on regulating just-in-time.

There has been, obviously, a lot of focus over the last couple of years to develop the short-term measure to improve the efficiency of ships and operation, which we hope is also gonna serve as a driver, from some of these measures that we have been showing here. 

But I think following up on Ben, I think we have been doing together in the GIA a lot of work in the GIA on addressing barriers. And I think what we have identified, because I think the person that chat said the technology is there and it seems easy and straightforward, is that there are still major barriers that need to be overcome. And some of them are data-related, as Ben said, and there’s a lot of work been going on at IHO and IMO under the facilitation committee as well to standardise data, and enable data exchange.

But I think there’s also contractual barriers, for example, on just-in-time, that need to be addressed, because certain ship types, under certain charter party agreements, nowadays, ships cannot even adjust speed. So even if the master gets information on when to be at the pilot boarding place, the master would be in breach of contract if he or she would reduce speed.

So, it’s not just operational data-related barriers. It’s also contractual that in the just-in-time need to be overcome, and where more work needs to take place. Just wanted to add that to Ben.

Argyris: Thank you, Astrid. It was one of the questions I was about to ask you. So thank you for jumping in. Talking about data, but from another context, I mean, Rich, in the past, we’ve been discussing essentially how the port is a hub, you know, linking sea to land. And when you look at it from a congestion perspective, or an…which also has of course environmental repercussions, what do your studies say in terms of being able to forecast and manage, for example, what will happen on the shore side, in relation to what is happening on the seaside?

Richard: Yes, definitely. Thank you. So, that’s the challenge is to understand what the connection, or what the opportunity to understand the connection between waterfront activity and vehicular, or roadway congestion. I mean, as a port authority, we obviously look to the water, and we have a keen interest in what’s going on pier-side and beyond. However, the vast majority of our operational decisions, and the vast majority of the impacts here at the port, are impacts that occur on the roadway itself.

So, what we’re looking to see is whether or not there’s an opportunity to take data, such as the data that’s provided by MarineTraffic, and look at that as part of a holistic system, to include data on our rail activity, as well as data on our traffic, and over-the-road movement, to understand where the connections are.

And it’s difficult. I draw the comparison to our airports. The Port Authority operates airports in addition to seaports, and for the airports, it’s a much more linear connection. They know at what time daily aircraft are arriving. And they know, based on previous data samples, that the average passenger will stay on terminal for 60 minutes while they collect their luggage, and then they’re able to correlate or to predict when the activity at the curbside pickup will likely increase because of the frequency of planes that are landing.

It’s much more difficult to predict that, obviously, here for ports, because as a vessel comes in and it exports or offloads a container, there’s no real way for the Port Authority to know how long that container is gonna stay on terminal, and when a truck is gonna come to pick that container up. So we have realised that there are differences in the industries. But I think that there is a real opportunity to take a collective look at MarineTraffic data, or water-side data, as well as over-the-road data, to understand where the correlation is.

And then, from a port authority’s perspective, or from an operator’s perspective, we can then make adjustments to our daily resource allocation, to ensure that on days that we may be expecting a higher volume of trucks, we can allocate resources to ensure that that doesn’t result in increased congestion, either at the gates or on the roadways.

Argyris: Okay, sounds like an extremely exciting analytics project. I tell you what, I would love to talk more about that and contribute to what you’re doing. I am also looking at the ticker of Q&A. And thank you very much, dear audience, for putting those questions down. I do need to apologise in advance for not going through all of them. There’s one here about incentives. And although it seems to be addressed to Astrid and the IMO, maybe we can start from Ricardo, on your experience there. 

It says, it’s about incentivising ports, for example, to make changes and improvements in order to empower vessels to perform better planning, and for the port call to become more efficient. I mean, what do you think? Is this something that needs to come from a regulatory authority such as the IMO? And does the IMO have, and Astrid, for you, perhaps later, does the IMO have authority over what ports do? And let’s start with you, Ricardo. What’s your opinion on that? Incentives?

Ricardo: Well, for the incentive, well, as I said before, the main incentive for the port comes from the community around the port, because you will find that most of the ports are surrounded by cities. And then you have these port city ecosystem in which the point is to contribute to the whole ecosystem around the port and economic activity around the port.

I would say that the main incentive are coming from the community itself. And that’s why you see most of the ports committing to emission reduction, and it’s because the first beneficiary of that will be the nearby city. And that is probably the starting point.

The second point will be when we talk about ports, we shouldn’t forget that the port is not just the sea-side. We need to remember the port is the […] which we switch transportation modes. We’re switching from ocean to ground transportation. And then, what we need there is, when we are talking about the incentive, the point is to have also a on both sides. And that comes from the… To increase the efficiency of the whole operation, we need to have also just-in-time from the water-side with also just-in-time with the trucks, with the rail movements. And then to have a very efficient operation.

Probably the incentive would be, in order to develop more port community system or a digital ecosystem for the maritime supply chain. I would see it more on that side.

Argyris: Thank you, Ricardo. I mean, Tanja, we started with, you know, we opened up the discussion with incentives from the Port of New York, New Jersey, and you’ve got a mega city right next to you you’re serving there, a community. Do you feel pressure from the community, as Ricardo mentioned? And what kind of future incentives do you see actually being implemented?

Tanja: Yes. So, we are surrounded by an urban area, and we do see pressure from that. And we basically do community outreach on that. And we form…we have a Clean Air Strategy Group, where we meet regularly with our community representatives and have discussions about what we’re doing to resolve certain issues.

I think many of the issues that are raised by the neighboring communities are mainly concerning trucks and truck traffic, and emissions from, you know, that are generated on land-side, not necessarily at sea. I mean, that, you know, shore power every so often is raised. But mainly, it’s trucks. But we are proactive, and work together with the community to try to come up with solutions. But it’s also, you know, if not, some of it will be solved, I guess, if you had a state actor that mandated certain regulations, and be easier to enforce.

Argyris: I got that. I mean, Ben, how does it feel at your end there? And Tanja has been mentioning shore power twice. And we should say that, under the, you know, it hasn’t escaped the IMO’s and GIA’s attention. There is a separate work on shore power. We didn’t touch it much today. But Ben, I don’t know, how do you feel about incentives there for…and how they are essentially put into practice?

Ben: The incentive for support? You mean to implement these measures?

Argyris: Yeah. Or indeed, you know, for… I mean, is there a real reason why a port authority should… I mean, why does the Port Authority of Rotterdam, for example, choose to do these things? Is it to keep your customers happy? Is it to keep the City of Rotterdam and the neighboring urban area happy? Is it to keep your government happy? I mean, you know, who drives these things? And how do you incentivise your customers to respond?

Ben: Well, the largest incentive is, of course, to make our customers happy, customers from shipping lines. Because they will be happy if they can have facilities in the port for hull and propeller cleaning, for example, or to repair their main engines. So, it’s sort of the garage function of a port. When it comes to the terminals, together with the Port Authority, for example, to facilitate just-in-time arrivals, that is more difficult, because those emissions will be cut on the international waters, and not in port waters.

So, what is the incentive for a terminal to help a ship to reduce emissions in international waters? 

What does not affect the local permit for the terminal for emission levels? Or for the port authority emission levels? So, that is more difficult. So, there we see a sort of reason or sort of niche, how do we get a tap on the shoulder for terminals and ports to facilitate ships to reduce emissions in the international waters?

Argyris: Interesting. A tap on the shoulder, then. I mean, I don’t know, Rich, how does that sound? Would you welcome taps on the shoulder?

Richard: Yeah, definitely. You know, I think it’s interesting. Obviously, as a port authority, we wanna be environmental stewards, and we do care about the environment. So, high level, that’s definitely an incentive or a driving factor for us. But also, just the realisation that an efficient port benefits all stakeholders. I mean, you know, I like to borrow the cliche, like, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” And I think there needs to be a collective realisation from the marine terminal operators, the port authorities, the shipping lines, as well as the trucking industry, that through shared data, and through a collective approach to some of these issues, we can increase efficiency at the port, which in turn, will benefit everyone, from both a monetary as well as a productivity standpoint.

Argyris: Thank you, Rich. And maybe as we’re nearing…we’ve got three minutes as we’re nearing the end of our webinar, and thank you very much for being here. Maybe a note of optimism? I mean, if you were to look into the past 10 years and see the progress that has been achieved, right, how would you foresee the future going forward in terms of developments? Do you feel optimistic that new measures, these ones or others, will take place, and the situation will improve overall, as far as the footprint, the environmental footprint of ports is concerned? Let’s start with Ricardo.

Ricardo: Well, I think that the future is brighter. I think that, now, with the technology in place, we will be able to achieve things that were not possible before.

Argyris: Okay, thank you. That was nice, short and sweet. Astrid.

Astrid: Yes, I think I’m also optimistic. I think there is a lot happening in the industry. I’ve been with IMO now for almost 10 years, and the scale has been, it’s just crazy to see how much is going on in the industry, on both from shipping and port-side. So I’m very optimistic. We are also having discussions in the GIA on these measures, to see how can we support implementation of these measures? How can we maybe support creating incentive of these measures?

And if I can just comment on that, incentives versus regulations, I think we need both, really. I think regulations are obviously a key driver, and we have a lot of port-related regulations, if you think about code, port reception facilities, there’s a lot of regulations that refer to the port. But I think in decarbonising, we will need both regulation and incentives. But yeah, just to summarise, I do think there’s a lot happening. And I would encourage any port that is interested to work with us and collaborate with us to get in touch with Argyris or Ben or me, as we are having dialogues with all ports on these measures and how they could be globally implemented. So, thanks, Argyris.

Argyris: Thank you, Astrid. Maybe Ben?

Ben: Yeah, I’m very positive. Well, before, the mindset was, “Why should we do this?” And that mindset has changed to, “Why don’t we do this?” So I’m very optimistic, and I see really a bright future, together with Astrid, that we will be able to implement measures that are hands-on and pragmatic. And together, we’re very enthusiastic port authorities. So, so far, so good.

Argyris: Thank you. Thank you, Ben. Rich? Rich, and then Tanja.

Richard: Yes, definitely. I agree with everything that’s been said. I think I am very optimistic. I think that the last year and a half, with COVID-19, has really pointed in the direction of technology and data to be able to solve problems and inform management decisions. So, I’m very hopeful moving forward that we will continue to leverage technology and data in that capacity, and I’m encouraged by what lies ahead.

Argyris: Thank you. Thank you, Rich. Tanja?

Tanja: I think I agree with everybody who has spoken before. Yes, I think there is a great deal of optimism currently, so, hopefully, we can maintain that and see some action.

Argyris: Amazing. I could say also, from the side of our business, MarineTraffic, we’re also optimistic about what can be achieved, and we see also great value in the data facilitating all sorts of thought-leading activities. 

So, on that basis, yeah, the future is bright. Let’s go beyond the reality of past year, more or less. I’m sure we will overcome all of these things quickly, and get back to normality.

I would like to thank you very, very much, dear panelists, for being here with us, and dear audience, for staying on and watching us for the past hour. We hope It’s useful. We do apologise if your question has not been answered. We will try to summarise it in a blog post, and we will also publish the presentation and webinar recording. So, thank you, everybody. And from me, thank you very much, and bye-bye.

Tanja: Thank you.

Astrid: Thanks a lot. Thanks Argyris, and the MarineTraffic team.

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