Oslo is one of the world's most climate-conscious and environmentally ambitious port cities.
By 2030, Oslo will eliminate 95% of greenhouse gas emissions. Port of Oslo will reduce emissions by 85% in the same period, and become emissions-free over the long term.
Road traffic, waste incineration, and power generation are the city's largest sources of emissions. Ports and shipping account for 3% of Oslo’s greenhouse gas emissions.
World’s first emissions-free port
Port of Oslo's vision is to become the world's most environmentally friendly urban port. The plan for a zero-emissions port was established and approved by Oslo City Council in 2018.
Implementation of the plan is underway. To achieve its climate goals the plan calls for the replacement of fossil fuels with electricity for all land transport, shore power for all vessels, and emissions-free maritime transport.
Collaboration between Port of Oslo, its customers, and Oslo’s business community is essential to help make the harbor and city emissions-free. The port plays a vital role in the transition to emissions-free fuels for transport of cargo and goods.
Port of Oslo will make significant investments in the power grid to increase the use of shore power for vessels, and charging stations to load batteries. Port equipment and machinery in the port can also be charged, and cargo shipped onward by trucks or by rail.
Developing a zero-emissions port has significant costs. In the port of Sydhavna alone, more than NOK 200 million will be invested in emissions-free infrastructure over the coming decades. Shipping lines must rebuild their fleet, and port operators need to invest in zero-emissions vehicles at the terminal and for transport.
The seaway is the greenway
Oslo is home to Norway's largest cargo and passenger port. In a typical week, between 50 and 70 ships call at the port.
Half the country's population is within a three-hour drive from the main cargo terminal. Maritime transport creates less than half the total emissions of all other forms of transport combined.
The port's most important environmental measure is to help shift traffic from road to sea. Therefore, Port of Oslo is planning for a 50% increase in cargo and a 40% increase in passenger traffic by 2034.
Shore power to ships
The largest discharges in the port are from ships. Reducing diesel emissions when ships are berthed is the first step on the road to an emissions-free port.
Shore power connects vessels to the port’s electrical grid allowing them to shut down diesel-powered engines. Shore power reduces greenhouse gas emissions and, local air and noise pollution.
International ferries, which were responsible for most emissions, are now supplied with shore power. In 2019, ferries to Denmark were connected to a newly built onshore power plant at Vippetangen. Color Line has utilized shore power for its two cruise ferries on Hjortneskaia since 2011.
The goal is for international ferry traffic to be emissions-free by 2025, at the quay and when entering and departing the harbor. Use of shore power, combined with battery operation and renewable fuels can help achieve this target. The zero-emissions plan establishes requirements for shore power to cruise ships by 2025.
Emissions free local ferries
The ferry connection between Oslo and Nesodden transports four million passengers annually, more than any other ferry route in Norway. Norled's ferries became emissions-free in 2020. Previously, the Nesodden ferries used liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable biodiesel.
Ruter's is constructing new island ferries. Boreal will launch its first electric island ferry in 2021. These vessels will also charge at the town hall piers. The Municipality of Oslo, as an environmentally conscious procurer, requires zero-emission solutions, similar to the approach the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has taken for several of its ferry connections. By the end of 2021, there will be more than 70 electric ferries operating in Norway.
Emissions-free cargo port
Electrification of Oslo’s cargo port is vital to reducing transport sector emissions far beyond the port's borders. The cargo port is responsible for almost half the port's emissions, (18,000 tonnes of 40,000 tonnes in 2018).
Planning is underway for shore power to cargo ships and emissions-free cargo handling in Oslo. Norway's largest and most modern container terminal, Yilport Oslo, is well on its way to becoming emissions-free. Trains transporting fuel to Gardermoen airport depart daily. Efforts are being made to improve the connection between the port’s container terminal and the freight terminals at Alnabru.
To achieve the goal of reducing 85% of emissions by 2030, ships must be able to sail emissions-free in Oslofjord. In addition to increasing the use of shore power, ports must provide charging stations or alternative fuels. Port of Oslo has studied the role of electrification to help it become a zero-emissions port. The use of locally produced biogas and hydrogen is also being considered. As an urban port, Oslo is well-positioned to build an emissions-free logistics network, at sea and on land, able to expand without additional emissions.
Emissions-free cargo handling
Planning is underway to construct several charging stations, part of a larger effort to use space at the cargo port more effectively. These stations will supply power to electric loaders, trucks, conveyor belts, and other necessary equipment to handle cargo and goods without emissions.
Port of Oslo has reduced its emissions from port-owned vessels and vehicles from 230 tonnes in 2015 to 2.8 tonnes in 2020 by phasing out vehicles powered by fossil fuels, and investing in electric vehicles. Port vessels and vehicles stopped using fossil fuels in 2019. The world's first electric environmental boat of its kind, Pelikan 2, was designed to collect floating waste from the harbor basin.
Carbon capture supports circular economy
Waste incineration accounts for almost 20% of Oslo emissions. Carbon capture and storage, (CCS) on the Norwegian continental shelf, is one solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from waste incineration. This approach assumes carbon will be transported by ship from Port of Oslo. To transport liquid carbon, specially designed tankers and new port infrastructure are required.
International and national requirements for emissions-free maritime transport
The shipping industry worldwide is exploring how to increase its use of clean energy. Ships account for almost 90% of all cargo transport and 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty percent of the world's vessels, primarily giant container ships that sail the world’s oceans, account for 80% of emissions. These vessels do not call at Oslo.
The International Maritime Organization, (IMO) a UN agency, set requirements for more efficient energy use by 2030 with a goal that all ships be fossil-free by 2050. Norway was a driving force behind this initiative.
The shipping sector develops and evaluates alternative fuels. Several members of The Norwegian Shipowners' Association are working on groundbreaking projects using hydrogen, ammonia, biogas, and electricity.
In the national action plan for green shipping, the Norwegian government has set targets and direction: The Government’s ambition is to reduce emissions from domestic shipping and fisheries by half by 2030, and promote the development of low, and zero-emission solutions for all vessel categories. Norway’s maritime industry is a world leader in the green shift, but it is necessary to speed up the green transition to meet this goal”.
Port of Oslo and the municipal Climate Agency participate in the Green Shipping Program (GSP). GSP is a public-private partnership to advance the Norwegian government's maritime strategies and plans. Its vision is to develop and strengthen Norway's goal to establish the world's most efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.