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MTCC Africa Third Pilot Project

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MTCC Africa Completes Third Pilot Project

The Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre-Africa (MTCC Africa) has concluded its third pilot project aimed at establishing a baseline inventory on emissions at the Port of Mombasa. The pilot project has entailed the collection of historical data obtained from the Kenya Ports Authority’s Vessel Traffic Systems (VTS) for the years 2019 and 2020, covering both foreign-going and domestic vessels within the Port of Mombasa.

According to MTCC Africa Project Head, Ms Lydia Ngugi, the results of this pilot project are especially important, because they will inform regulations and policy formulations, as well as legal frameworks that will guide decarbonization, not just at the port of Mombasa, but also in the region.

“Kenya is a signatory of the Paris Agreement, as well as to the agreements recently formulated at COP 26. This pilot project will contribute significantly to the National Action Plans on Decarbonization that will promote green corridors, and a sustainable maritime future,” she opined.

Ms Ngugi was speaking in Mombasa, Kenya during a week-long engagement on the pilot project with researchers and experts drawn from MTCC Africa consortium members; Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), and the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).

This finalised third pilot project report gives a definitive picture of emissions by Ocean Going Vessels (OGVs) at the Mombasa port, covering both Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and air pollutants.

In most African countries, there exists no baseline inventory on emissions, and lack of this data means corrective measures on decarbonization cannot be taken. This is according to Michael Mbaru, a GHG expert and an environmental officer at the Kenya Maritime Authority.

“There was therefore a gap, and this was part of the reason we settled on this particular pilot project. I’m excited that with it, there will be a paradigm shift, and we shall have a roadmap on emissions. With verifiable facts and figures, we will no longer be wading in the dark. With this study, we will seek to determine the factors of emissions at the port, and consequently give recommendations that will see the port become more efficient and operating at its optimum,” added Mr. Mbaru.

Some of the details the study sought to find out included the time ships take in the port, which contributes to emissions and the amount of time they spent at berths, in anchorage, and when the ships were manoeuvring, to show when the emissions are high. It also looked into ship speeds, ship types and capacity, as well as fuels used as factors of emissions at the port.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the maritime transport sector contributes around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 2.89% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It further projects that these emissions will increase significantly if mitigation measures are not put in place swiftly. According to the Third IMO GHG study, shipping emissions could, under a business-as-usual scenario, increase between 50% and 250% by 2050, undermining the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Eng. Dr Hiram Ndiritu, the MTCC Africa Project Director, remains hopeful that with the close working relationship the project has had with various maritime stakeholders in the country, implementation of recommendations from the pilot project should not be an issue. He maintains that sustainable exploitation of maritime resources in the country and region is a goal within reach despite challenges.

“The beauty is that we have industry players in the maritime sector and focal point stakeholders on board to see through the implementations of some of the guidelines and recommendations,” he adds.

Florence Bett, a Pollution Control Inspector at the Kenya Ports Authority holds similar sentiments, with an appeal to stakeholders to rally behind the recommendations drawn from the study. “The maritime industry must come together to implement and enforce the regulations and recommendations that have come up from this study,” opines Bett.

These recommendations include the need to use cleaner fuel in ships for more efficiency, speed reduction programmes, optimizing port operations, streamlining cargo handling turnaround times, legal frameworks and regulations on emissions, and in the long-term, the establishment of shore power at the port. Shore power would be a highly effective method to reduce marine diesel air emissions by enabling ships to shut down their auxiliary engines and connect to the electrical grid to provide them with power while docked.

Ms Ngugi concludes by affirming that Africa has a huge potential in the blue economy space, but that, without sustainable exploitation in a clean environment, there will be no blue economy to exploit. “My rallying call to our current and potential local, regional and global partners is that the results of these pilot projects we’ve carried and continue to carry out are demonstrable and actionable across the continent and the world. Join us in this journey, and in the spirit of leaving no one and no country behind, let’s implement them and continue to invest in this noble cause of decarbonization,” she concludes.

MTCC Africa is hosted at the JKUAT Mombasa Campus, and is an initiative by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and was initially funded by the European Union (January 2017-December 2021).

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