Moving sea trade with green power

Norway is spearheading in developing green technologies for the maritime sector and has implemented several initiatives to save the oceans. HE Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg – Ambassador of Norway to India, elaborates on the possible collaboration between the two countries to make logistics eco-friendly

Norway is planning to collaborate on electrification of ports in Gujarat using renewable energy. What would be the energy source – solar, wind or tidal?

Norway is working on environmentally sustainable and pollution-free port operations. Most of the electricity in Norway is generated through hydropower and there are also companies that have developed technology for offshore wind power. We see good potential for these technologies in India. The Sagarmala programme can be an excellent platform for this. An important aspect of Sagarmala is utilising coastal areas around ports for power generation. Gujarat being the leading maritime state of India can be a good starting point here.

Which facet of port operations would be electrified using this renewable source? Will this take the full load of the operation requirements of the port? When do you plan to start?

Though the entire port operation can be electrified, the technologies are under development in some cases and not fully operational. However, an important area can be the auxiliary power supply to vessels when they arrive in ports. Barge-mounted power plants running on LNG and other clean fuels can be used for this purpose. This will control one major area of pollution in ports. I am optimistic about the technology development in this area and confident that in coming years the entire shipping industry, including port operations, will move towards sustainable operations.

How would this help in minimising sea water pollution?

Norway has taken the lead in addressing sea pollution issue and PM Erna Solberg is leading global efforts for sustainable oceans. Shipping was not part of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. However most nations agreed during the IMO meeting in London (9-13 April 2018) to reduce emissions from shipping by at least 50 per cent. We welcome this and believe that the fastest growing economies such as India have an important role to play.

Norway also has plans to develop the infrastructure to green the Indian transportation system. Which aspect of the transportation system do you plan to address?

Norway developed its first LNG-fuelled ferry ‘Glutra’ in the year 2000. Today, it has highest number of operational LNG-fuelled vessels. We are working closely with India on LNG technology. Batteries and hybrid engines are other areas where Norway has expertise and we see immense potential for this in India as well. India is interested in utilising methanol as fuel in transportation. The Norwegian company DNVGL has developed the required certification standards for methanol engines.

What potential do you see for using LNG as fuel for port operations, coastal shipping and the OSV fleet in India?

LNG is not the solution to all the problems of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. However, it will act as a transition fuel before the shipping industry completely shifts to cleaner, renewable fuels like batteries, methanol, bio-diesel and hydrogen. LNG has been used as a fuel in shipping in Norway for more than two decades now. India is seriously looking at LNG as fuel for the future and we are working with industry as well as government in this process.

What are your plans to enter into the ship breaking industry in India? What can Norway offer in ship breaking technologies for ship demolition yards here?

The Indian subcontinent in general and India in particular, is the hub of global ship breaking industry. There is need to ensure the industry complies with environmental and safety standards. The Hong Kong Convention is an important step in that direction. Norway ratified the convention in 2013 and we are working with other countries, including India, at the bilateral level as well as through international organisations such as the IMO.

Are there any other projects pertaining to logistics that Norway has undertaken in India? If so, could you share the details?

Port mechanization especially the electrification of ports can be another area of cooperation. Norwegian companies have experience and required technology for coastal surveillance, vessel monitoring and tracking systems. We are present in the state of Gujarat and going forward we would like to work closely with India in these areas as well.