Forth Ports launches its commitment to Net Zero

Left to Right: Charles Hammond (Forth Ports) Mairi McAllan (Cab Sec) and Lord Robert Smith (Forth Ports)

THE UK’s third largest ports group, Forth Ports, has set out its commitment and the actions it is taking to achieve a net zero carbon operation by 2042 at an industry launch event in Edinburgh yesterday (Wednesday 4th October). 

At the event, the company launched a film which demonstrates its ambitious vision of achieving carbon neutral emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2032 and creating an infrastructure platform to help accelerate the UK’s path to a decarbonised economy with full net zero carbon emissions being achieved by 2042.  The film can be viewed here:

A cornerstone of Forth Ports’ strategy is its substantial investment in infrastructure, port services and towage to support the build out of the UK’s renewable energy sector, including offshore wind. A private investment programme, totalling £150 million, has already provided crucial support to offshore wind development with the creation of bespoke renewables hubs in Dundee and in Leith to be part of the offshore wind revolution in the North Sea. This investment not only facilitates the transition to net zero but also lays the groundwork for emerging technologies such as floating offshore wind (FLOW) and green hydrogen.  In recent months, the group has unveiled plans for green hydrogen production facilities at the Port of Tilbury.

Forth Ports Group Chief Executive, Charles Hammond OBE, used the platform to lay out Forth Ports’ vision to create a high-capacity FLOW integration facility at the Port of Burntisland in Fife. FLOW will play a critical role in the UK achieving its net zero ambitions, with over half of Scotland’s offshore wind capacity in the deep waters where floating wind is to be deployed.  The Forth Estuary is one of the only suitable locations with the capability to integrate FLOW turbines in Scotland, with few other locations having the infrastructure, land and deep water required.  This vision would produce a unique asset combining key elements of the offshore wind supply chain across logistics, marshalling, manufacturing and marine services.

Commenting at the launch event, Charles Hammond OBE, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “With our firm commitment to carbon neutrality by 2032 and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2042, we are driving progressive change in the maritime industry and beyond. Our ambitious vision reflects our dedication to environmental stewardship and our crucial role in supporting the UK move towards a decarbonised economy for the generations of the future.

“Our existing major investment in green energy, coupled with our commitment to floating wind, the next generation of renewable energy, and our collaborative approach underscore our determination to play our part in driving the transition to a decarbonised economy to achieve meaningful and lasting environmental change.”

Màiri McAllan MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, said: “I welcome the commitment from Forth Ports, to achieving carbon neutrality by 2032 and net zero by 2042. I have visited Forth Port’s Grangemouth facility, and what was made clear to me was the critical role that ports play in our economy.  It is encouraging, then, to see such a key operator show leadership and commitment to maintain and grow that role in Scotland, as we transition to net zero.

 “This commitment builds on impressive achievements to date, and I look forward to seeing Forth Ports’ full net zero plan being rolled out and how, working collectively, we can help deliver our ambitions for a just transition to net zero.”

The Rt Hon Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland said: 

“Forth ports, one of the UK’s largest ports groups, becoming net zero by 2042 is a welcome commitment. The leadership they are showing demonstrates what can be achieved by one of Scotland’s major infrastructure hubs. Forth Ports is a partner in one of Scotland’s two new freeports, each backed by £26m from the UK Government, and I look forward to hearing more about their plans.”

Across all eight of its UK ports, including its largest port in Tilbury, Forth Ports is also overhauling and electrifying equipment and machinery, switching to low carbon fuels, increasing on-site renewable energy generation and promoting low carbon delivery alternatives such as rail and barge. Forth Ports is part of the Thames Freeport and Forth Green Freeport* partnerships which are seeking to accelerate the drive to net zero across the country.

Specific carbon reduction actions under way across Forth Ports:

Sustainable electricity – all eight ports use environmentally sustainable sources of electricity, including on-site wind turbines at Tilbury, London’s major port. All new warehouses will have solar roof panels installed as standard, such as the recently built 100,000 square foot facility at the Port of Grangemouth freight hub.  These projects are already satisfying a meaningful proportion of the ports’ power needs.  A programme of rolling out new LED lighting is under way to further reduce power use across all port estates.

Low carbon fuels – for mobile equipment and marine fleet, the strategy is to blend and utilise alternative fuels.  Initially this involves the widespread use of sustainably sourced hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) and, as technology develops, other methods of low emission power.  An ongoing programme exists to introduce more fuel-efficient equipment and marine fleet across the asset base.

Green energy ports – the group is focused on delivering low carbon logistics and large-scale port infrastructure to support green energy generation.  The group has overhauled its rail offering by investing heavily in four of its rail terminals, at Tilbury, Tilbury2 and Grangemouth, alongside progressing the reinstatement of a rail connection to Rosyth as part of the Forth Green Freeport initiative.  The group has invested significantly in port infrastructure to support the roll-out of ScotWind at Dundee and Leith, which will create high quality green jobs and help facilitate Scotland’s just transition to a Net Zero future.  In addition, the group has recently installed shore-side power at Leith and its new development, Tilbury2, is shore-side power enabled to help drive down in-port emissions from visiting vessels.

Scope 3 or supply chain emissions – Forth Ports is working with its supply chain to drive down the group’s Scope 3 emissions.  These mainly stem from the use of steel and aggregate when constructing infrastructure or the purchase of mobile port equipment and marine vessels.  The business is pro-actively engaging with suppliers to find fit-for-purpose, low carbon emission alternatives.  For example, the award-winning construction of Dundee’s renewables quay, called DunEco Quay, used steel pipes fabricated from reused or recycled materials. The port also created a paved storage area by reusing building and road materials from the onsite works, which avoided adding to landfill and reduced – or eliminated – road delivery miles for the aggregate, saving thousands of tonnes of carbon in the delivery of this project.

Forth Ports has collaborated with Fleete, a specialist in commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, to develop a charging hub at the Port of Tilbury. The Fleete Hub, when built, will provide charging for a range of electric vehicles for the port’s customers and workers, including light and heavy commercial vehicles, passenger cars and specialist vehicles. This innovative model allows the port’s customers to electrify their fleet without the challenges of building and financing their own charging infrastructure. Forth Ports and Fleete believe this model is a critical catalyst in decarbonising customers’ operations and reducing Forth Ports’ Scope 3 emissions.

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