Green transition in Shipping: innovative European project at Limassol port

Cyprus, through its shipping companies, plays a decisive role in the BlueBARGE project, a pioneering initiative funded by Horizon Europe, led by a coalition of 14 partners from 9 European countries. The Deputy Minister of Shipping, Marina Hatzimanoli, said she was proud of the fact, characterizing the active participation of shipping companies American Bureau of Shipping and DANAOS, which are based in Cyprus, as important, emphasising at the same time the participation Cypriot companies, such as Columbia Shipmanagement and Multimarine Services.

By creating the infrastructure and carrying out the tests in Cyprus, BlueBARGE is an example of our country's commitment to sustainability, Marina Hatzimanoli pointed out. She noted that the project aims to reduce polluting emissions and minimize the greenhouse gas footprint associated with shipping activities, and is fully aligned with the broader goals and strategies of both the government and the Deputy Ministry of Shipping; as well as being in line with EU and international community efforts towards electrification and reducing emissions, the BlueBARGE signals a shared commitment to global sustainability.

The Director General of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, Thomas Kazakos, stated that the project has a cost of €11 million, of which almost 80% (€8.5 million) is financed by the EU, has a completion time horizon of 36 months and will be completed within December 2026. Mr. Kazakos indicated that two Cypriot companies, both Shipping Chamber Chamber, are participating in the project: "Multimarine Services and Columbia Shipmanagement, while the ship on which the tests will be carried out is owned by, Lefkaritis Bros Seas Ltd, another Chamber member,

Multimarine Board of Directors Pavlos Fokas, explained to us that the project will take the technology developed by various partners from EU countries, place it on a floating barge that will go to the Limassol anchorage and provide power to the ship, for an hour. He indicated that there is the possibility to do this for much larger ships as well as that in the event of a blackout, it will be able to provide power to the ports as well, supporting critical infrastructure on land. The barge has been made available by Multimarine and all technology installation will be carried out at its premises in Limassol Port.

Mr. Fokas expressed the hope that in a year and a half the technology will be ready, so in consultation with Columbia the test will be planned that will show in real life conditions how such technology can work. The director of energy and renewable energy sources at Columbia Shipmanagement, Philippos Ioulianou, told us that the choice of the Petrolina Ocean ship was based on the fact that it is located in Cyprus.

He pointed out that a long process is required for its conversion, so that on the one hand it can continue to generate energy with the engines and on the other hand it can be connected to an electricity supply, to receive energy. He added that the processes started six months ago, Columbia has largely figured out what to do and now expects the others to be ready. He confirmed that a significant investment will be required from the company, whose involvement in the project will help its executives to understand the part of connecting to the onshore power grid and powering docked ships from shore, which will contribute to a more ecology-minded operation of the ports.

He added that due to European legislation, from 2026 onwards cruise ships and ships carrying containers must be ready to receive green energy, so Columbia should be able to advise its customers in this direction. Philippos Stylianou pointed out that how quickly the green transition will be implemented also depends on when the EU member states will have in place the appropriate networks.

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