International ports will be central to driving future investment in clean energy infrastructure as they transition to a new industrial role as hubs for production and onward supply of non-fossil fuels, including blue and green hydrogen, according to a new industry report.

The Arup-LR study, The Resilience Shift, looked at a notional “green shipping triangle” in the Atlantic Ocean connecting Brazil, South Africa and Morocco, scoping out how key ports could “unlock investment for the production and supply of alternative fuels” including blue and green hydrogen, along with necessary land-side facilities.

“Regardless of the fuel of choice, the research shows that demand for alternative fuels is intrinsically linked with the concept of ‘green corridors’ – where the transition can start through a multi-stakeholder initiative,” said the report authors.

“This total-value approach can unlock investment and highlight the opportunity for ports as resilient zero carbon gateways to growth, bringing co-benefits in local social, environmental, financial and economic value.”

Arup head of economics Filippo Gaddo stated: “International shipping is a major and vital industry for a global interconnected economy – and its decarbonisation is essential as we move towards a more sustainable society.

“The scale of infrastructure for low carbon fuel supply is large and there is a need for significant investment in initial path-finders projects. Our study shows that an integrated approach that addresses the total value of the projects can unlock significant co-benefits, strengthening their case for investment.”

LR decarbonisation hub programme manager Charles Haskell said: “The impact [of green corridors] goes beyond shipping and the fuel supply. This study models how these changes will impact land-side infrastructure, and the investment and opportunities to transition to low carbon resilient energy systems.”

A report from European advocacy body WindEurope last year warned the EU’s hugely ambitious plans to construct at least 300GW of offshore wind power plant in its waters by mid-century as an engine for its energy transition strategy is doomed to fail without rapidly geared-up, multi-billion-euro scale investment in ports.