UKMPG and its members are committed to high standards of environmental sustainability, playing a leading role in lowering emissions and growing natural capital.
Major ports have a key role to play in the transition to a net zero future. This role has a number of aspects:
- Reducing the emissions of their own activities. Port operators are investing significantly in technologies and assets that make a big difference in reducing emissions. By being able to regularly reinvest the introduction of new equipment leads to ongoing improvement. Ports are also introducing much greater levels of electrification in their activities and looking at new energy sources such as hydrogen. Although often overlooked the more efficient operation of business activities, including using more data and digitisation, is also a powerful way to lower emissions. The emissions focus of ports is not just on the carbon dioxide that causes climate change. It is also on the particulates that impact air quality where our focus on improvement is equally strong.
- A vital foundation of renewable energy. Ports are essential parts of the supply chains for many types of renewable energy. They are bases for the construction and operation of offshore renewable energy projects, such as wind farms. On shore they are the locations for green energy projects such as wind, solar, and waste recycling and they remain gateways for energy commodities – but now not the coal of history but biomass and carbon for storage and utilisation.
- Enabling emissions reductions in wider supply chains. Moving freight by water is by far the most emissions-efficient means of moving goods, with carbon dioxide equivalent levels per tonne and per kilometre being at least 9x better than by truck and nearly 100x better than by air. We want to expand the volumes of freight moved by water – not just internationally, but also around the UK coast and utilising the inland waterways. We are deeply engaged in developments in the introduction of new fuels for vessels themselves. We are working to ensure that ports can act as hubs for smart, green energy for transport moving in and out of the port and those operating facilities on the port estate.
We recognise that environmental sustainability is more than just emissions. Major ports are working to improve biodiversity and habitat protection on sea and land, and these initiatives are important elements not only of their ongoing activities but as part of their investment programmes. Ports are also playing a role in the fight against marine plastics and litter with activities as varied as sea bins, beach cleans and signing up to industry leading initiatives. More widely, materials efficiency and the circular economy have been features of port operations before such terms with used. A ports gateway role has included the movement and processing of wastes and today extends to hosting reprocessing and energy from waste plants.
One of the key roles of UKMPG is to work with Government and regulators to ensure that the UK has environmental rules that allow and encourage both high levels of ecological integrity and responsible development. This is one of our central priorities, with end goals that we are committed to achieving.