Reaching a tipping point

Electric container handling equipment

Reaching a tipping point in battery-electric container handling equipment

One step toward decarbonising our ports: a roadmap to container handling equipment electrification.

Container Handling Equipment (CHE) is a critical enabler of port operations, accounting for 90% of global trade across the world’s 940 container ports. In 2020 alone, the global fleet of CHE enabled the transportation of 815 million TEUs but was also responsible for emitting 10-15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide whilst doing so. Research has found that the challenges hampering the uptake of battery-electric CHE can be mostly overcome.

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A critical enabler of seaborne transport

Container Handling Equipment (CHE) is a critical enabler of seaborne transport, which has a lower carbon footprint than land or airborne transport and accounts for 90% of global trade.

A lower cost of ownership and greater efficiency

Battery-electric Container Handling Equipment (BE-CHE) is preferred over hydrogen-electric CHE due to a lower cost of ownership and greater efficiency

Challenges can be overcome with industry-wide collaboration

While cheaper than hydrogen-electric, battery-electric CHE faces affordability and accessibility challenges which can be overcome with the right actions from industry stakeholders.



Terminal Operators

• Re-think the way terminals operate
• Develop terminal-level electrification roadmaps
• Identify workforce training requirements
• Increase / scale up demand


Original Equipment Manufacturers

• Cooperate to develop technology standards


Port Authorities and Affiliated Government Entities

• Incentivise the transition to zero-emission CHE fleets
• Make zero-emission CHE a requirement in new proposals
• Provide financing for the required infrastructure
• Ensure clean air mandates for CHE


Shipping Lines

• Identify requirements for end-to-end zero-emission supply chains
• Include zero-emission CHE in green shipping corridor requirements

Collective, industry-wide action is needed to achieve affordable and attractive battery-electric CHE that can be used globally.

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The Zero emission port alliance

The Zero Emission Port Alliance (ZEPA) is an industry-wide strategic coalition with the goal of accelerating the journey to zero emissions for container handling equipment (CHE) on ports.

Based on research from the recent whitepaper developed jointly by APM Terminals and DP World, the alliance will work to increase industry wide-adoption of battery-electric CHE by making it more affordable, attractive and accessible.

This will be done across four workstreams, each with a different objective to overcome challenges:

  • Encourage scaled up production capacity of BE-CHE by manufacturers & reduce product costs.
  • Bring down the cost of batteries and charging solutions, simplify implementation and increase equipment interoperability.
  • Ensure terminal operators and the grid infrastructure are ready for BE-CHE & shore power roll-out.
  • Create better implementation conditions for zero-emission fleets and help accelerate adoption of zero-emission CHE.

"The Zero Emission Port Alliance is a results-driven coalition with a clear focus, set up to support and deliver tangible short-term action. I truly believe we are capable of driving the change needed to make port electrification happen."

Tiemen Meester

COO - Ports & Terminals, DP World


ZEPA membership is open to all industry participants, including terminal operators, OEMs, port authorities and government entities. If you’d like to speak with the team about a potential membership, please contact [email protected].

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