Green shipping lanes are becoming more popular.

The water taxi that links the remnants of Rotterdam’s former nautical majesty to the city’s harsh port neighborhoods roars with a powerful diesel motor. The opulent Hotel New York is the backdrop for the yellow speedboat’s docking, displaying the city’s rich history of international shipping. The 122-year-old structure was once the main office of the Dutch shipping line Holland America Line. It is one of the few that survived the heavy bombing of Rotterdam during World War Two. The building’s facade still bears the firm’s name in big lettering.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, located next door in a skyscraper that resembles a lighthouse, is eager to focus on the future of shipping rather than its history. More precisely, it is drawing attention to the ways in which the industry can keep up its efforts to lower emissions. The authority, managing and operating the biggest port in Europe, has collaborated with its counterpart in Singapore to establish one of the world’s inaugural long-distance green shipping lanes.

The concept underlying these corridors is that only zero- or low-emission fuels are used by cargo ships while they navigate these routes. As alternatives to fuel oil, new storage facilities for green fuels like methanol and ammonia are being constructed in Rotterdam and Singapore to help make this viable. A gas called ammonia is created when nitrogen and hydrogen combine. If completely renewable energy is used to make the hydrogen, it is referred to as “green ammonia”. In the meantime, alcohol in the form of methanol can also be made using renewable energy. According to Boudewijn Siemons, interim chief executive of the Port of Rotterdam, the collaboration between the Dutch city and Singapore is intended to demonstrate the concept’s practical applicability.

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