Malta (PortSEurope) February 5, 2020 – Infrastructure Malta has published details of a two-stage plan to reduce pollution from vessels using the island’s cruise ship and Ro-Ro docking facilities in the Grand Harbour, Valletta. The total cost is estimated at €50 million and aims to reduce air pollution sourced from vessels using the harbour by over 90%. Under the Grand Harbour Clear Air Project, docked
vessels will be able to switch off their engines and use dockside electricity supplies. The first phase requires €37 million to provide onshore power on the five important cruise ship quays of the Grand Harbour by end 2023. The second phase will extend the solution to a distinct two quays utilized by Ro-Ro vessels. A 2015 European report signifies that one cruise ship berthed at port for eight hours produces an estimated 1.2 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide, the equal of 300,000 autos driving from Cirkewwa (Mellieha) to Marsaxlokk. It releases 30 kilograms of particulate matter, the equivalent as 180,000 autos travelling the equivalent distance all through Malta, Infrastructure Malta talked about. According to the Nationwide Statistics Office, 372 cruise liners visited Malta in 2019. The emissions of cruise ships visiting Malta is likely to be drastically lowered, bettering air top quality in numerous locations throughout the northern and southern harbour areas. By switching off auxiliary engines, cruise liners visiting Valletta will emit 93% less nitrogen dioxide, 92.6% less particulate matter and 99.6% less sulphur dioxide. These pollutants are among the principal causes of respiratory illnesses and other health issues. The first phase of the Grand Harbour Clean Air Project will also cut 39.6% of the cruise liners’ carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. The first phase of the project includes the installation of two frequency converter stations and the laying of a 22-kilometre underground and subsea cable network to distribute electricity from Enemalta’s nearest primary substation (distribution centre) in Marsa, to Pinto Wharf (three quays), in Floriana, the Deep Water Quay, in Marsa and Boiler Wharf (one quay), in Senglea. These are the main quays used by cruise liners visiting Malta. Shore side transformers and shore-to-ship connection panels will link this network to the vessels to be able to switch off their engines as soon as they berth. The second phase of the project will extend shore side electricity to Laboratory Wharf and Ras Hanzir (Fuel Wharf), in Paola. These two quays can also be used by Ro-Ro ships, which berth at the Grand Harbour to ferry wheeled cargo, such as cars and trucks to and from Malta. Preliminary studies indicate that through this project, within 20 years Malta will save up to €375 million in costs linked to the measurable consequences of air pollution, such as impacts on health, the natural environment, infrastructure and agriculture. It will also reduce the impact of noise and engine vibrations in the Grand Harbour area. These health and environmental benefits will make the project the second-largest contribution to improved air quality in Malta following the decommissioning of heavy fuel oil power stations in Marsa and Marsaxlokk in 2017. Most of the cables required to connect the quays to Enemalta’s Marsa North Distribution Centre will be laid in existing or new underground culverts, or buried in trenches, in nearby roads. Some cables crossing the Harbour will be buried in undersea trenches. Two frequency converter stations are required to convert electricity to the frequencies used on board cruise liners and other ships. One of them will be installed in part of an old industrial shed in Boiler Wharf, which will also be restored and conserved as part of Malta’s industrial heritage. Another frequency station will be built in the Deep Water Quay area, next to an existing industrial structure. Infrastructure Malta has already submitted the initial project plans to the planning and environmental authorities to launch the applicable development permitting process, including public consultation. It is also presenting this proposal to the European Commission, since it qualifies for funding through the Connecting Europe Facility. The European Union’s 2014 directive on the deployment of alternative fuels (2014/ 94/EU) stipulates that member states should prioritise the introduction of shore-side electricity supply in ports of the TEN-T Core Network, such as the Grand Harbour, by end 2025. Infrastructure Malta is planning to complete the first phase of the project by 2023. By reducing air pollution in the region, the Grand Harbour Clean Air Project will contribute towards EU and national climate change objectives in line with the Paris Agreement, which obliges ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their land-based activities as well as the decarbonisation of shipping activities. The reduction in emissions also contributes towards meeting the obligations of Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe. Infrastructure Malta is the agency entrusted with the development, maintenance and upgrading of roads and other public infrastructure in the Maltese Islands. Source: Infrastructure Malta Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2019.