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Consortium to use biofuel in Harwich Haven dredging project

2021-10-07 Charlie Bartlett
07102021 harwich haven // harwich_haven.jpg (188 K)
Boskalis and Van Oord have been jointly contracted for the deepening the inner harbour area of Harwich Haven, in a 50-50 contract worth £120m (EUR140m). Under the agreement, Boskalis and Van Oord will dredge the Harwich approach channel and inner harbour from 14.5m to 16m, to allow the largest container vessels to call at Harwich Haven and the Port of Felixstowe. Other ports accessible through Harwich Haven include Ipswich and Mistley.

Key to the contract is the specification is the consortium’s use of sustainable biofuel, which can be acquired in different formulations so as to be a like-for-like replacement for heavy fuel oil, marine diesel oil, or LNG, and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40%. Historically, Boskalis has teamed up with biofuel supplier Goodfuels; meanwhile, in 2019, Van Oord embarked on a pilot study in partnership with Shell.

The pressure is on for ports across the UK as Britain adapts to a new regime of post-Brexit customs regulations. This, as well as global disruption brought on by Covid-19, are forming a one-two punch causing major congestion and increased pressure at ports with no obvious end in sight. A recent report by Container xChange points points to “more complicated dual-Customs regimes” which are likely to be “a factor in logistics bottlenecks” independently of Covid-19.

However, in late 2020, a report by UK Ports Major Ports Group estimated that 22-60% of cargo volumes – with reference to 2018’s totals – could switch to other UK ports outside the Calais-Dover corridor, and in doing so, would make best use of the UK’s port capacity.