Electrification, efficiency and innovation: How DP World will get to net zero

Electrification, efficiency and innovation: How DP World will get to net zero

Date: 04/01/2023

Cutting your carbon footprint – we’ve all heard about it in recent years, and there’s a good chance you’ve made some changes to reduce your own. But imagine if you were a global company, operating in more than 200 countries, across every continent, with 97,000 employees.

On the one hand, decarbonising on such a large scale can seem daunting, with many different business units and jurisdictions approaching it differently. But on the other hand, the potential is almost limitless, with even the smallest changes adding up to something worthwhile.

The five pillars of our decarbonisation strategy

Source: DP World ESG Strategy

At DP World, we take our aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2040 and generate net zero carbon emissions by 2050 very seriously. We also want to help lead the way in limiting global warming by setting clear goals and underpinning our strategy with science. Our plans run across all divisions: ports and terminals, logistics, economic zones and marine services.

Here are the five pillars supporting our decarbonisation strategy:

1. Equipment electrification

We are investing in the electrification of equipment across our operations, and wherever possible are introducing electric alternatives - this is one of the key ways we are already making a difference and the results are already visible. 

All of our Jebel Ali port is fully electric – including the cranes – Rotterdam World Gateway is almost fully electric and is our first net zero terminal, while our South Korea operations are also well on the way. All across the business efforts are underway to drive this forward, for example we’ve just ordered 20 electric terminal tractors for DP World Callao in Peru and plan to do the same for our Santos port in Brazil. We’ve also got Britain’s first all-electric terminal tractor at our London Gateway port.

2. Efficiency and digitalisation

Some of the easiest wins in decarbonisation can be found in making small changes that improve efficiencies. Digital innovations are one of the best ways to do this. Our intelligent High Bay Storage system, known as BoxBay, eliminates unnecessary reshuffling of containers and promotes energy efficiency. We have invested $4 billion in technology since 2016, and 70% of our ports use cutting-edge automation software.

3. Renewable energy supply

We’re committed to using electricity from renewable or carbon-neutral sources. We’re also looking at ways we can self-generate renewable energy, as well as putting in place green energy tariffs and contracts to buy directly from renewable energy generators.

Half of our electricity supply in Europe is renewable, and many of the ports that make that up are running on 100% renewable energy. In Jebel Ali, we have the largest rooftop solar panel installation in the Middle East.

But that doesn’t make us complacent, we’re working all the time to improve. Last year, DP World Chile secured the first renewable energy certification for a port operator in South America – it gets all its electricity from hydropower plants. And our London Gateway logistics park moved to using a 100% green source of energy in 2019. 

4. Low-carbon fuels

Cleaner fuels are key to cleaner oceans, and we are striving to replace diesel with low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels where possible and we’re exploring many alternatives, including applications of green hydrogen. 

Our Southampton container terminal has completely eliminated diesel from its operations and is using hydro-treated vegetable oil instead. Based on actual diesel usage calculations, we estimate a net carbon dioxide reduction of more than 80%.

Elsewhere, our operations within Unifeeder have partnered with ZeroNorth to boost decarbonisation and have embraced low carbon fuels.

5. Carbon compensation

We use carbon offsetting to compensate for any CO2 emissions we cannot avoid, purchasing carbon credits and nature-based solutions. This includes carbon offsets that we purchase in Hong Kong to offset our electricity emissions. But we want to go further than that, sponsoring and funding projects for good. Our work also includes exploring how we might promote blue carbon, with initiatives like mangrove and oyster restoration schemes. In the last year, our teams have planted over 60,000 mangrove seedlings across Ecuador, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

As a global logistics company using heavy machinery, our operations rely on fuel, and that makes decarbonisation a challenge. But it’s not one we shy away from. Rotterdam World Gateway is an example of how the five pillars that underpin our strategy come together to create something remarkable: our first net zero carbon terminal.

Real change will only succeed if we can collaborate across the industry. That’s why we’ve also invested in a strategic partnership for finding, testing, and implementing practical ways to decarbonise – the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

Our five pillar strategy underpins everything we do and is essential to achieving our zero-carbon future. It will also create green job opportunities and leave behind a legacy of change for all.