Port of Barcelona prioritizes sustainability policies
Sustainability policies are a priority for the Port of Barcelona, its president, Merce Conesa, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview due to the arrival of the Aida Nova cruise ship, powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
According to Conesa, the arrival of the cruise meant two challenges for the port: first, the port must be “prepared to load LNG to a cruise safely and facilitating circulation” and second, the port aims for the Aida Nova “not to be the only one and that others come using this type of energy, which does not cause particles pollution”.
The Aida Nova, belonging to the Costa Group, arrived for the first time in April at the Port of Barcelona, the main cruise port in Europe, where it stops every Friday and every 15 days to receive the supply of LNG.
“We are committed with the Sustainable Development Goals and to fight climate change, and therefore we have a firm commitment to make a series of changes in the coming years to receive the cleanest and newest ships”, the President of the Port of Barcelona explained.
She pointed out that the port of Barcelona should be an example.
“We are the first European port in cruises, we rank between fourth and fifth in the world, which means that we have to be more demanding”, Conesa added.
The Head of Environment of the Port of Barcelona, Jordi Vila, explained that the Aida Nova receives about 2,000 cubic meters of LNG from a barge and reaffirms the importance of its arrival at the port, “it is a boat that marks a new era, a new way”.
Fifty-eight percent of the cruise ships that dock in Barcelona are fewer than 10 years old, the port works on the electrification of the docks (ships would stop using their generators when docking, which causes great pollution) and encourages the arrival of newer and environmentally responsible ships through rate benefits.
The port takes into account the possible declaration of the Emission Control Area in the Mediterranean Sea, which will require that the maximum allowed sulfur content in marine fuels to be at 0.1 percent and not at 0.5 percent, which is the figure expected for the world fleet in January 2020.
In this sense, the use of LNG as a fuel reduces by 80 percent the nitrogen oxides emissions and completely eliminates sulfur oxides and suspended particles.
“The emissions from the port activity of the Port of Barcelona contribute between 5 and 10 percent in the pollution levels of the city,” explained Vila, adding that “traffic in the city itself is what contributes the most,” he added.
In 2018, the Port of Barcelona received some 3 million cruise passengers and 830 stopovers, a fact that marked an all-time high.
According to Vila, in November 2019 the Costa Esmeralda, another cruise ship powered by LNG, will arrive and it is expected that in two years there will be five new cruises powered by LNG operating in the port.