UNCTAD’s secretary-general, Rebeca Grynspan, (left) and divisional director, Shamika Sirimanne (right). Image Credit: Ship & Bunker
Ports will need external investment to upgrade their facilities such as bunkering to be part of shipping decarbonisation, United Nations trade organisation UNCTAD has said.
The role of port infrastructure as an enabler of decarbonisation was highlighted in the organisation’s Maritime Transport Review 2023 which was presented in London at the International Maritime Organisation.
Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the UNCTAD, pointed to the scale of of the work required. To decarbonise ships excluding port infrastructure woud cost $28 billion, she said.
Within the port sector, she said there was a danger of a gap opening up between the bigger and the smaller ports.
Estimated cost of decarbonising ships: $28 billion
“The main global ports have funds and have become more efficient over time, ” she said.
Ports in developing countries also want to contribute to decarbonisation. She cited the emerging ‘green corridors’ as an initiative these ports want to be part of. She warned of a “distributional effect” where the smaller ports in developing countries lose out.
But a multi-fuel bunkering market for will need port investment as more fuels mean more storage space.
Speaking to Ship & Bunker, Shamika Sirimanne, divisional director for technology and logistics, said that securing funds for decarbonisation projects in developing country ports was essential but problematic. She acknowledged that as funds usually flow to where there is a more immediate return, it would be large ports benefitting from those funds. Ultimately, she said, ports decarbonisation funding would need an initiative at a global level.
The Maritime Transport Review provides a comprehensive look at current trends in shipping and trade. Maritime trade grew in 2023 over the previous year while from 2024 to 2028, growth is projected to be at 3%. UNCTAD stands for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.