UK ports are emerging as central figures in the collective endeavour to reduce carbon emissions across the nation’s freight transport sectors, according to a report by the Decarbonising UK Freight Transport Network.
This organisation, backed by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, underscores the strategic role of ports in connecting road, rail, and maritime transport, following an extensive study involving six research projects and two stakeholder events.
The report highlights the ports as not just intersections for various transport modes but also as strategic locations where infrastructure and decarbonisation initiatives can be most effectively implemented. The authors advocate for a comprehensive view of ports, envisioning them as hubs of green innovation and opportunity.
The study underscores a systemic approach to decarbonisation, emphasising the need for holistic strategies that encompass the entire freight system. However, it also points out a significant investment deficit in all freight modes, indicating a substantial financial gap that needs to be bridged to achieve zero-emission targets.
The green transition for maritime freight alone is projected to necessitate around £75 billion in investments, predominantly for onshore infrastructure and the energy supply chain. The report accentuates the need for substantial port electrification and investment in the production of renewable, non-biological fuels to facilitate the decarbonisation of maritime freight.
In essence, the report underscores the pivotal role of UK ports in the broader narrative of freight decarbonisation, calling for significant investments and a systemic approach to turn these transportation hubs into catalysts for green innovation and sustainable practices.