While the importance of sustainability has gained massive recognition worldwide, in some cases, ports still tend to adhere to more traditional ‘tried and tested’ forms of design and methods of construction because these are perceived as reliable and low-risk. To bridge this gap, WSP continues to showcase that green maritime structures can be as durable, resilient, and adaptable as their conventional counterparts. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, WSP has championed the use of highly durable and lightweight materials such as FRP instead of steel or reinforced concrete materials in the construction of marine jetties in numerous projects. In the design of a coastal pool structure, a minimalistic approach was taken by excavating a pool and providing a pre-cast unreinforced concrete perimeter wall. This approach deviated from a typically tanked pool structure, which would have required a large reinforced concrete base or a piled base solution.
Transitioning from conventional marine fuels to cleaner alternatives presents another formidable challenge. Stricter regulations implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) necessitate a shift towards a new generation of eco-friendly ship fuels such as biodiesel, green hydrogen, LNG, methanol, and ammonia. While these fuels hold immense potential for decarbonising the industry, their success hinges on developing new infrastructure for fuel production, storage, and distribution.
However, on the positive side, the pursuit of finding and adopting the next generation of marine fuels is in full swing within our region. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, the NEOM Green Hydrogen Company has embarked on an $8.4 billion investment journey to establish the globe's most extensive green hydrogen facility at the OXAGON, which is poised to be the world's first and largest fully automated port. In a parallel stride, the shipping conglomerate CMA CGM has recently secured an order for twelve container ships fuelled by methanol alongside an additional four to be powered by LNG.