A study by a Frankfurt-based group estimates the costs of natural disasters during 2020 at 210 billion dollars, emphasising the effects of rising sea levels in China and the Pacific Ocean. Coastlines are particularly affected. Unless they adopt energy transition measures, ports dependent on hydrocarbon traffic will be affected by a drop in their trade; Amsterdam (Holland) has taken the message to heart and wants to increase cargo movement by getting greener. For the sake of the associated cities, port-related traffic also needs to reduce hydrocarbon consumption to avoid both economic and ecological disaster: for example, in Lagos (Nigeria) congestion costs 55 million dollars every year, and the city government is now diversifying to reduce road traffic into the port. Other developing countries have already introduced initiatives to this end, for example a programme in Cotonou (Benin), in cooperation with AFD, which should be completed in 2021; or the coastal protection megaproject in the port of Khulna (Bangladesh), the second largest in the country (after Chittagong): the Bengali authorities consider that it is essential for the survival of the south-west of the country.
Industrial ecology is a means of pooling and recycling emissions from industry to assist other companies and focus development on a virtuous circle. Port Salford in Greater Manchester (UK) is set to be extended using recycled construction materials, avoiding a significant amount of pollution that would otherwise be generated by concrete production. This port development mirrors other urban initiatives, including one in Brussels (Belgium), where city hall has selected 38 projects. These will also be actively supported by the port, which is providing land to store the recyclable materials. However, the idea is not limited only to European countries. Kenya has signed an ambitious partnership with the firm ENI to convert agricultural waste into biofuels in Mombasa, the country’s largest port city.
In port cities, carbon capture and storage will no doubt be central to the new circular economy. Why? Because not only do port cities usually host carbon-emitting industrial activities, but most storage facilities will be sited offshore! In Australia, Perth-based company Transborders Energy is set to launch an offshore project with Japanese partners. The constructors are already lining up, with the likes of K-Line or Stena Bulk having already created prototype carbon storage vessels. Port infrastructures will enable carbon to be centralised and then shipped to storage sites, as is the case with the Northern Lights project based in Bergen (Norway) and operated by Total, Shell, and Exxon-Mobil. Another project of interest is CinfraCap, currently being designed in Gothenburg (Sweden) by five Nordic firms. And of course, we have previously reported on the EU Commission-funded Porthos project in progress at the port of Rotterdam (Netherlands). Its operators are confident, and a progress update in December indicated that the project will be completed on time!