The challenges to be a DEMO SITE for the SEANERGY project

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10:30 hrs.

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Ennshafen OÖ GmbH represents Austria as an Inland Port in the EU project SEANERGY, in which twelve partners from European countries take part. The SEANERGY project aims to future-proof ports to become hubs for clean energy systems, hydrogen technologies and other low-carbon fuels

Ennshafen, like other inland ports in the Danube region, has very different organizational, financial, and governance conditions compared to larger European seaports. The port’s structure as a landlord port involves multiple operators responsible for the operative business on the basic infrastructure. Superstructure elements are invested in by the operators, making them responsible for environmental affairs and likely to accept changes only if economically feasible.

Pathways to climate goals

While the climate goals for inland ports are the same as those for larger ports, the pathways to achieve these goals differ. Factors such as smaller surface area, limited free development areas, port traffic, hinterland connections, and stakeholder commitment play significant roles. Additionally, smaller structures make it challenging to establish new infrastructure with heavy safety restrictions, such as those required for hydrogen technologies.

Port authorities and administrations can decide on the greening of their own activities within their jurisdiction but have limited ability to influence the green behavior of port users, including terminal operators, transport companies, and vessel owners.

Competition and cost efficiency

Inland waterway businesses compete heavily with road and railway transport. As a result, environmentally friendly initiatives must also be cost-efficient to be accepted by the market. Furthermore, ports often rely on external service providers, such as local electricity grids, limiting their ability to change the port’s electricity system. Despite their smaller size, ports can be crucial partners for surrounding communities and regions in achieving sustainability and supporting the energy transition.

Environmental management and policies

Port Environmental Management Plans (PEMP) and specific green port policies can ensure future sustainability. These plans should align with those of larger ports but be tailored and simplified to suit the specific needs of inland ports.

Ennshafen OÖ GmbH, as a demo site for the SEANERGY project, faces unique challenges due to its organizational structure, limited influence, competition with other transport modes, and smaller scale. Despite these challenges, tailored environmental management plans and strong stakeholder commitment can help pave the way for achieving sustainability goals and supporting the energy transition in inland ports.

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