Climate change and the adjustment to its consequences pose one of the biggest challenges for us. As an energy-intensive company, we wish to make an essential contribution towards climate protection. We therefore increasingly support the utilization of renewable energies for the maintenance and the expansion of the ports. We are always striving to seek out energy-saving and lower-emission alternatives to keep our footprint as low as possible. What's good for the climate is good for our company.
2015 was the first time that we performed an energy audit pursuant to DIN EN 16247-1. We have built on this basis to create an energy monitoring system. We have been using it since 2016 to capture any energy-relevant data. The database is the controlling instrument of our energy policy and it simultaneously serves as the basis for the energy audit. In addition to the energy sources used, the system assigns the most important energy consumptions to the pertinent facilities, buildings, and systems. The monitoring permits us to recognize savings potentials earlier and to utilize them in a better way.
In general, there are four factors that are crucial for our energy consumption:
1. Cargo Handling: The amount of handled cargo and the required material and work input that goes along with it are influencing our energy consumption, e.g., through the deployment of equipment and facilities.
2. System Technology and Control: Technical innovations in the existing system technology and for the system control are improving the energy efficiency.
3. Behavior: Our employees are operating equipment and systems that use a lot of energy. Training, education, instructions, etc. can contribute to a more efficient utilization.
4. Environmental Conditions: On the one hand, the weather dictates the operation of heating systems in our warehouses, workshops, and buildings. On the other hand, the number of storm events influences the dredge activities necessary for maintaining the proper water depths.
Electricity, natural gas, and diesel make up more than 95% of our energy consumption. In order to make utilization of these energy sources also more environmentally- and climate-friendly, we streamline the use of traditional energy sources and replace them - wherever possible - with climate-friendly and energy-saving alternatives.
Here, one of the ongoing activities lies in the modernization and/or retrofitting of our buildings, for instance by utilizing more energy-efficient heating systems. We also improve our land and water vehicle fleet using Sustainability Aspects through energy-efficient propulsion systems or alternative fuels. One important measure that immediately pays a dividend towards our Sustainability Strategy: The gradual streamlining of the port lighting by deploying smart LED systems.
Maritime shipping - when you compare it by each ton kilometer - produces significantly less CO2 than transport on land. Still, the exhaust fumes from ships’ engines impair the environment, since ships traveling outside the SECA and ECA area are largely operated with heavy fuel oil. It contains significantly more sulfur oxides and other pollutants (such as heavy metals, nitric oxides, etc.) than you will find in fuels used in land transport. While maritime shipping causes 3% of the CO2 emissions globally, 13% of all air pollutants are attributed to it.
The air emissions in the port come from various sources: from the port operators, the maritime shipping industry (such as ship owners and ship operators), and from other companies within the port. To some of the emissions originating within the port we only have a limited impact, e. g. on the emissions of foreign ships, or from hinterland transport.
In the future, we want to largely reduce emissions that can be controlled by us. For these purposes, we started recording in 2017 for the first time greenhouse gas emissions in CO2-equivalent values, and attributed them to various sources. Within this process, we were primarily guided by the scopes of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG protocol).
In doing so, we put an emphasis on direct (Scope 1) and indirect GHG emissions (Scope 2). For now, the additional indirect emissions (Scope 3) in the pre- and post-chain of our business activity, remain unrecorded (see images below).
Within our Sustainability Strategy, we have formulated our express goal to reduce our emission by 2025 (compared to 2017) by 25%. Even as early as 2019, we were able to reach half of that goal with a reduction of 12%.
– a development that gives us confidence in reaching this goal. Compared to 2014, we actually almost cut our emissions in half. We are certain that the large-scale change-over to eco electricity played a large role in this, lowering the electricity-based CO2 emissions by 86% (see image).