Meeting the carbon challenge

Alan Tinline:  Recently, the biggest driver has been stakeholder interest Alan Tinline: Recently, the biggest driver has been stakeholder interest

With many terminals failing to have in place a credible greenhouse gas reporting system, there is a danger that the sector will fall short of its international GHG reduction targets, a TOC Europe audience was told.

“The transport sector has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60%,” said Al Lewis of the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) at TOC Europe’s decarbonisation debate. The problem is, “right now these emissions are still increasing, driven by an overall rise in GDP and lengthening supply chains”.

Unfortunately, according to Charles Haine of WSP Group, less than half of the terminals he has visited have a credible GHG reporting system. He added that it's common for a terminal not to be able to give a breakdown of what percentage of electricity is used for lighting, buildings, reefers and so on.

The reporting methods have likewise suffered from a certain ‘wooliness’. Alan Tinline of ABP pointed out that the inherent fluidity of port operations and its ‘non-standard’ units – which can include passengers – makes for challenges. He admitted that “in lieu of clear steps... sometimes you just tackle the things that are easiest to measure”. Conor Feighan of FEPORT went on to say that for a terminal, GHG “can be daunting to calculate”. However, he pointed out without engagement, policy will be taken out of our hands “and I’d rather create something I can live with rather than someone else deciding it”.

Still, a growing number of interested stakeholders might help. “The bankers, the financiers, are now looking for detailed studies of carbon contribution,” said Mr Haine.  Mr Tinline added that “recently, the biggest driver has been stakeholder interest – even more than regulation". However, it’s not easy to find consistent answers and in his view “a standardised methodology is necessary".

For this element at least, there might be an answer: Mr Lewis is championing a consistent method, aligned with GHG accounting best practice, that’s been developed by GLEC and may deliver the “clear steps” that Mr Tinline has called for.

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