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Port surges ahead with new sustainability initiatives

Cruise berth

Portsmouth International Port is surging ahead with their commitment to sustainability with the recruitment of a new environmental engineer, and an application to enable the provision of shore power for Brittany Ferries’ new hybrid ships.

The port is excited about its bold plans to tackle emissions and carbon, which will ultimately help them to reach net carbon-neutral by 2030, and become one of the UK’s first zero emission ports by 2050.

The plans, which aim to improve air quality and carbon footprint, have been put together with the port’s recently released 20 year Masterplan and the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy in mind.

As part of their plans, they have now applied to the area’s distribution network operator (DNO), to begin the process of upgrading the electricity supply. This is to ensure the port is shore power ready for the arrival of two new hybrid ferries, who will be joining the Brittany Ferries fleet from 2024, serving routes connecting Portsmouth with St Malo and Caen.

Image above: A render of one of the new hybrid ships joining the Brittany Ferries fleet from 2024
Image above: A render of one of the new hybrid ships joining the Brittany Ferries fleet from 2024

As well as significantly cutting emissions, the hybrids will deliver less noise, less vibration for passengers. The ships operate on the same principle as a hybrid car. At sea, they will be powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) fuel. But in a first on the English Channel, they will also operate partially or completely on battery power– for example when arriving and departing ports.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, who own and operate the port said:

“I’m delighted to see the drive and determination of the team at the port as they strive to reach their ambitious targets of net zero-carbon by 2030 and zero-emission by 2050.

“I am also impressed by the efforts of the port’s biggest customer, Brittany Ferries, as they move to alternative fuels and hybrid ships to help cut carbon and emissions, which means we are moving in tandem to a greener future for Portsmouth.

“The provision of an increased electricity supply is vital for these innovative new vessels to be connected to shore power whilst in the port, so it’s great to see the process of getting this ready has begun.”

Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO added:

 “LNG-powered ships are cleaner today, but they could be even greener tomorrow.

“That’s why we applaud the steps the port is taking now to prepare Portsmouth for shoreside power. An integrated approach to sustainability means we can realise the full potential of our next generation, LNG-hybrid ships. For when we join-up, everyone wins.”

As a city-owned port, their relationship with residents means everything. Alongside shore power, the port is leading the way with a massive roll-out of renewable energy generation, battery storage and experimental power prototypes.

To achieve their objectives, they have teamed up with scientists and academics to turn the port into a living laboratory, and now the port is looking for an environmental coordinating engineer to help bring all the projects together and deliver them successfully.

Stephen Watkyns, head of engineering at Portsmouth International Port said:

“It’s an exciting time at the port, with a number of major projects being delivered in the coming years. To ensure that we reach our sustainability objectives, we’ve created this brand new role which will be purely focused on delivering our environmental projects, including the provision of shore power, and building on the excellent progress that’s already been made.

“If you have an engineering or sustainability background I’d strongly encourage you to take a look at the Portsmouth City Council careers portal and apply before the closing date of Midnight on 22 March.”