Shipping has turned a shade greener, with vessels plugging into renewable energy at Indian ports

Published 3 years ago on Feb 25, 2020 1 minute Read
RA Chandroo

Say ‘shipping’ and you imagine majestic vessels gliding into a blue sky that dips into a bluer sea. But the industry is highly polluting, running on heavy fuel oil that exhales acid-rain-causing sulphur oxide. India’s new ‘Green Port’ initiative is, therefore, a step towards more responsible maritime transport. The country has become the first in the world to have all state-owned ports run on renewable energy. Nearly two years after the project was first announced, ports in Kandla, Mumbai, Thoothukudi, Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Mormugao and Mangaluru run on solar and wind energy, according to reports. Docked ships will be able to use green energy that the port generates and offset carbon emissions, which tends to be 5x-10x heavier than emissions from the port. With an initial investment of Rs.5 billion, the Green Port project includes acquiring equipment required for monitoring environmental pollution and dust-suppression system, and setting up waste-water treatment plants, all aimed at cleaner day-to-day operations. Green Port takes us closer to the Sagar Mala logistics development programme, a larger makeover meant to increase shipping’s dwindling share in cargo traffic. The 12 new green ports, which are the major ports, handle less than 50% of the country’s cargo traffic. The larger Sagar Mala programme includes construction of new berths, last-mile rail infrastructure, dredging, equipment upgrades, and digital solutions.