How data helps ports and terminals breathe easier


The pressure is on

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting has been in the headlines across all industries for a few months now, with no exception for shipping.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization introduced the target of a 50% reduction in total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the maritime industry by 2050 (compared to 2008 levels) . And at COP26, in Glasgow in 2021, 24 countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Japan and the US, signed the Clydebank Declaration for Green Transport Corridors, which aims introduce zero-emission shipping routes between two or more ports.

As COP27 approaches with more climate ambition and governments around the world introduce stricter ESG reporting requirements, the opportunity for ports and terminals to differentiate themselves from other locations increases. By starting to think about their emissions now, they could become the green locations that are already leaving the starting line, in the race to zero emissions. The hope is that at least six green corridors will exist by 2025, with more to follow quickly.

The maritime sector – including ports and terminals – is also facing increased pressure from those who live or work near their location, with an estimated 230 million people within reach of a port or terminal. To effectively strengthen environmental measures, from protecting and preserving marine ecosystems to improving local air quality and safeguarding the health and well-being of coastal communities, ports and terminals must be able to measure and manage emissions and air quality in and around their hinterland.

That’s why, at RightShip, we launched our Marine Emissions Portal (MEP), as the first building block of an ESG solution for the ports and terminals industry. We have worked with GeelongPort to enable them to achieve carbon neutrality in November 2021 – the first port in Australia to achieve Climate Active status.

GeelongPort is heading towards carbon neutrality

GeelongPort in Victoria, Australia is the state’s second largest port, handling over 12 million tonnes of cargo. In 2021, there were 438 ship visits. Operating over 90 hectares of land, with 15 berths, GeelongPort provides land, infrastructure and services to facilitate trade for some of Victoria’s largest companies.

In 2019, GeelongPort launched a 20-year environmental strategy. They wanted to understand their carbon footprint, encourage more emissions-efficient ships to call at their port and, in the long term, aim to supply 100% of electricity needs from renewable sources, as well as achieve neutrality status. carbon via ‘Climate Active Certification’ – a distinction shared by some of Australia’s best-known names like Qantas and the City of Sydney.

Their strategy also set out the ambition to ensure that all carbon emissions are offset, with a commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030, and a pledge to measure and reduce scope 3 emissions.


Their determination to achieve these goals led them to meet the RightShip team with several specific challenges, all based on the quality of emissions data from ships using the port.

They wanted to have confidence in the carbon accounting methodology for commercial vessels, so they could have genuine and transparent conversations with the community living and working near their port, including a very active group of local residents. They also wanted to identify emissions hotspots when measuring GHG emissions from ships to inform their carbon reduction strategies.

Small steps, then giant leaps

To achieve carbon neutrality, GeelongPort first needed to understand the exact sources of the emissions they were facing, fitting them into a decarbonization strategy covering short, medium and long-term missions, with a view to offsetting the emissions they were facing. they couldn’t reduce.

It was our job at RightShip to help them get their stats under control. They had already done work to understand the scope of their emissions, knowing for example that Scope 1 was emissions from their offices, cars and other vehicles and machinery they used on site, the scope 2 included their electricity and heating and cooling consumption.

Finally, looking at Scope 3 emissions, including all indirect emissions such as business travel, waste disposal, purchased goods and services, and ships at dock, was where RightShip is. intervened.

GeelongPort estimated that over 90% of emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3 combined) originated from commercial vessels coming to berth at their berths. This meant that we configured their portal to cover very specific geographic areas – ensuring they were measuring the right emissions from the right areas.

GeelongPort specifically wanted to focus on “parallel emissions”, when vessels were moored as they only manage those berths, rather than emissions in shipping lanes, or emitted by tugs and pilot boats, which do not fall within their field of emission.

Charting a safe, sustainable and socially responsible future

The first set of results provided in 2019 was – what might have been bad news for some – as ship emission levels were actually higher than predicted by previous figures from GeelongPort.

Fortunately, their sustainability team was optimistic about the results. They understood and recognized that they needed to know where they were starting from, in order to be able to manage longer-term shows and plan improvements with members of their close-knit community.

GeelongPort previously had to use arduous manual calculations to plot ship emissions, which necessarily had to make general assumptions about the various ships coming into berth, for example that most ships would use a 600kW auxiliary engine. However, a tanker’s engine could be three or four times bigger, which means the sums don’t add up.

RightShip’s MEP helps improve the accuracy and visibility of ship emissions data by combining RightShip’s unique ship GHG assessment database and each ship’s arrival and departure using of AIS technology within the geographical limits of GeelongPort.

GeelongPort has now been using MEP for two years and significant reductions in some emissions have already been recorded. For example, emissions “slumps” were observed almost immediately after the IMO’s pollution prevention and response recommendation limiting the sulfur content of fuel oil used on board ships, launched in early 2020.

And in November 2021, GeelongPort was declared carbon neutral – Australia’s first port to achieve Climate Active status.

Encouragingly, they thank RightShip for helping them achieve this accolade, with Dr Lisa Mills CEnvP MAIOH, Environment and Sustainability Manager for the Port, saying: “The data provided by RightShip is so essential to us – a reliable source of information and an integral part of our accounting process. MEP has enabled us to communicate with confidence and transparency, and we encourage others to join us and do the same.


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