A study sponsored by Schneider Electric has revealed that, by switching to renewable electricity, the UK’s shipping and port industry could reduce emissions equivalent to 84,000 to 166,000 diesel buses or 1.2 million diesel cars.

By turning off the vessel’s diesel engines while berthing at ports, the industry could also help bring £402m per year worth of health and environmental benefits.

According to the study, offshore supply vessels, fishing boats, roll-on-roll-off, bulk carriers and passenger ferries release the most emissions from their auxiliary engines at berth.

In 2016, emissions from all vessels’ auxiliary engines in the UK ports were estimated to be equal to around 2.6% of the total nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions released by the country’s transport sector.

These auxiliary engines were estimated to release 830,000t of carbon dioxide, 11,000t of NOx, 270t of particulate matter, and 520t of sulphur dioxide.

“It is up to our ports now to catch up with the global norm and demonstrate that we truly believe in a cleaner, healthier future.”

In the same year, the UK had a fleet of around 110,000 buses and coaches.

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By GlobalData

Schneider Electric Marine Segment marketing manager Peter Selway said: “The UK is one of the last global regions to introduce shore connections at its ports and it will take industry collaboration and innovation to bring forward the introduction of portside electricity in a quick and sustainable manner.

“There is now a global standard for shore connections and it is up to our ports now to catch up with the global norm and demonstrate that we truly believe in a cleaner, healthier future.”

The Schneider Electric study also found that air pollution has been linked to asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer. It can cause dementia and is said to increase the risk of children growing up with smaller lungs.

Schneider Electric has urged the UK not to ignore the long-term impact of emissions from the shipping industry.