News & Updates: Port Bureau News: July 2020

Port of the Future: Collaboration and Innovative Solutions are Keys in a Changing World

Thursday, July 23, 2020  
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By Karrie Trauth, General Manager, Shipping & Maritime Americas, Shell Trading (US) Company and Travis Sheehan, North American Lead, City Solutions, Shell Exploration & Production Company

As the world faces record growth in energy demand, collaboration is critical to navigating the energy transition. Shell’s City Solutions business is working with cities – and ports to explore and implement integrated urban solutions for mobility, energy and the environment. In 2019, Shell [1]  established the Singapore Living Lab which aims to help Singapore become a more sustainable city. The City Solutions Living Lab is collaborating with PSA Corporation Limited (PSA) who is preparing the future Tuas Mega Port to serve as the  world’s single largest fully automated container terminal.


The Port of Singapore, currently one of the busiest container ports in the world, will merge its existing terminals into the Tuas Port, which is scheduled to start operating next year. Sustainable features will include optimized above- and below-ground land use, a next-generation traffic management system and automated yard cranes and port equipment. When fully operational in the 2040s, it’s expected to be the world’s single largest fully automated container terminal. Photo courtesy of Shell.

By 2050, the world’s population could grow by 2 billion people to 9.7 billion, [2] with around 70 percent of these [3] expected to live in cities. Even with great strides being achieved in energy efficiency and amidst the current slowing demand due to the COVID-19 crisis, the world is still likely to be using more energy by 2070, compared to today. [4] As the world continues to urbanize, the way in which city populations produce and use energy must shift to meet global development and sustainability goals.

While every city has unique needs, several factors are common to building sustainable and smarter cities of the future: mobility, energy, environment, urban planning and living. Shell’s City Solutions team focuses on three of these five factors: enabling cities to move people and goods with lower emissions (mobility), adopt a cleaner energy mix (energy), and embed sustainable features in built environments (environment).

The first City Solutions Living Lab was launched last year in Singapore. This “Living Lab” comprises a team with a range of expertise who have worked on projects involving areas such as renewable energy, storage, microgrids and mobility solutions. They work closely together with city officials, businesses and organizations to co-create and test innovative concepts, technologies and business models in cities.

The City Solutions Living Lab hosts co-visioning workshops that identify pathways toward a lower-carbon future. These workshops devise a range of solutions with commercially viable business models to help meet a partner’s carbon reduction goals. The Living Lab team draws on wider expertise from across Shell to help ensure the seamless implementation and deployment of solutions. Most importantly, successful solutions and models are designed in such a way that they may be replicated around the world.

Over the past two years, Shell City Solutions and PSA (formerly the Port of Singapore Authority) have been working together to understand the energy needs of the Pasir Panjang Terminal and the future Tuas Mega Port in Singapore. Thanks to PSA’s pioneering step of building a container port in the 1970s, PSA today operates one of the busiest container ports in the world.

The collaboration with Shell comes at a time when the Port of Singapore is merging its existing terminals into the Tuas Port, which is scheduled to start operating next year. The Tuas Mega Port will be the only port in Singapore after the PSA city terminals close in 2027 and the Pasir Panjang Terminal closes in 2040. When fully operational sometime in the 2040s, the Tuas Mega Port is expected to be the world’s single largest fully automated container terminal. At that time, the Port will benefit from optimized above- and below-ground land use, a next-generation traffic management system, and increased efficiencies provided by automated equipment.

The work is underpinned by the recognition that collaboration between government, industry and society is crucial in building a sustainable port of the future.Together, Shell and PSA identified opportunities for carbon reduction such as switching to cleaner fuel options and the study of a near net-zero energy building. Key considerations are reducing cost and carbon intensity of operations by looking at opportunities of energy efficiency, cleaner energy supply and fuel switching, and addressing grid constraints.

As a port facing many of the same challenges as the Port of Singapore, and with a similarly rich heritage as a leader in such things as container shipping, the Port of Houston has demonstrated its own future-focused commitment by taking the initiative to optimize its operations and facilities, create greater efficiencies and embed resiliency in all that it does.  The Port is making important strides toward achieving sustainable mobility though both the Houston Ship Channel Expansion project, slated to begin in 2021, and the Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge project. Last year, the Port of Houston entered into a 10-year contract with MP2 Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell Energy North America, to purchase renewable electricity, which is projected to eliminate about 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year from the Port’s carbon footprint. And recently, the Greater Houston Port Bureau and PortXchange (PXP) announced a collaborative efficiency project, supported by strategic partners like Shell.

In the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the way in which economies rebuild and city life presents a major opportunity for a net-zero emissions future.Unprecedented collaboration between government, industry and society is crucial in building sustainable operations of the future.

For additional information on Shell’s City Solutions or opportunities to collaborate, please contact Travis Sheehan at .

[1] The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this article, the expression “Shell” is sometimes used for convenience where references are made to those entities individually or collectively. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to Shell companies in general or those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying specific companies.

[2] UN Total Population at Mid-Year by region, subregion and country, 1950-2050 (thousands):

[3] UN 2018 Revision of world urbanization prospects: