India India releases “Green Ports Guidelines” to reduce carbon intensity of ports

India releases “Green Ports Guidelines” to reduce carbon intensity of ports

India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW)  on  May 11, 2023 published  “Green Ports Guidelines” laying down a framework for all major ports in the country to take initiatives to reduce carbon  intensity and develop environment friendly eco-systems.

The framework also lays down a comprehensive action plan to be adopted by all ports for achieving targeted outcomes in terms of quantified reduction in carbon emission over the defined timelines.

The principles of green port guidelines are :

  • Ensuring Sustainability (Environmental, Economical and Social) in port development by adopting environmentally compatible designs in constructing resilient infrastructure meeting local energy dynamics.
  • Ensuring sustainability in port operation by adopting best practices and employing best available carbon neutral and environment friendly technologies.
  • Employing an ecosystem dynamics in port development, operation and maintenance aligning to ’Working with Nature’ concept and minimizing impact on biotic components of harbour ecosystem.
  • Maximizing use of clean / green energy in port operation. Developing port capabilities for storage, handling and bunkering greener fuels like green hydrogen, green ammonia, green methanol / ethanol.
  • Minimizing carbon and other harmful emissions following Eliminate, Reduce, and Control (ERC) approach to protect local community, ecology and environment in and around Port areas. Reduction in carbon intensity by 30% per ton of cargo handled, from the current levels (Baseline: 2022-23), by the year 2030 and 70%  percent by
  • Minimizing waste through Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle (5R concept) to attain zero waste discharge from port operations.
  • Conduct appropriate environmental impact assessments for both port projects and port development plan


The focus areas of implementation of best practices are:


Green Cover:

Ports shall increase the green area cover to capture the fugitive emissions and attenuate the noise generated in the port surroundings by carrying out effective plantation, developing landscapes etc. The green belt area shall be increased by more than 20% by  2030 and 33%  percent by 2047 of the port area. Green belt will help in supporting the biological diversity,  retaining soil moisture, erosion control and coastal protection and recharging ground water and act as Carbon Sink.


Electrification of port equipment and vehicle:

Ports shall make efforts to achieve the target for electrification of vehicles and  equipment and should target more than 50% electrification by  2030 which is to be further increased to more than 90%  percent by  2047.

Ports should target retro-fitment / conversion of diesel powered equipment, cranes, forklifts, pay loaders,  vehicles  to electrically powered in a phased manner by making suitable plans.

All future procurements of port vehicles and cargo handling & other equipment shall preferably be electrically driven, electrically powered or should be compatible with low carbon greener fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG), methanol, ethanol, ammonia, hydrogen fuel cell.


Port Crafts:

Ports shall make efforts to retrofit port crafts ( tugs, pilot boats, mooring boats, survey boats)  with available technology for propulsion on cleaner and greener fuel .

Ports shall make an action plan and implement the projects to achieve the targets set for the Ports / Port Crafts in the “National Green Hydrogen Mission”, including creation of infrastructure at select ports for storage, bunkering and refuelling of green hydrogen and its derivative, within the targeted timelines.

Green Ammonia bunkers and refuelling facilities shall be established at all  major ports by 2035.


Resource Utilization initiatives:

Make efforts to increase the capacity of Water Treatment Plants  (WTPs) and usage of treated water.

Achieve more than 20%  reduction in fresh water consumption per ton of cargo and 100%  recycle and reuse of  waste water by  2030.

Install Sewage Treatment Plant (STPs) and to use the treated water for all permissible non potable purposes such as horticulture, sprinkling of water on roads and yards etc., thereby reducing the consumption of fresh water quantity.

Explore possibility of installation of “Desalination Plants” if not installed as an alternate of ground / surface water.

Explore possibility of utilization of condensed water generated from the chilling plants installed at LNG terminals.

Make adequate arrangements for “Rain Water Harvesting” for effective collection of rain water wherever possible.


Effluent Discharge:

Effluent discharge from the ships calling at ports, shall be monitored closely as per the  Annex- IV of International Maritime Organization’s  (IMO)  International Convention for Prevention of Pollution  from Ships (MARPOL)

Ships equipped with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, to meet IMO emission standards, should switch to the closed-loop mode of operation if fitted with hybrid type of scrubbers, whereas, the vessels fitted with open-loop scrubbers, would need to switch over to compliant fuel.

Discharge of any wastewater/ bilge water/ oily bilge/ wastewater generated from ships shall be prohibited in port waters.

Ships calling to the port shall compulsorily declare type (as per MARPOL) and approximate quantity of waste on board and seek port’s assistance in disposing the same.


On methodology of compliance and monitoring, it has been laid down that all ports  all ports may make suitable efforts to develop and install real time Continuous Marine Water Quality Monitoring Stations (CMWQMS) as per existing guidelines of ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC)  with digital dashboard and if already installed the same is to be calibrated by an approved lab showing the real time value with reference to the permissible limits and to be hooked to  MoPSW servers, within 12 months of launch of Green Port Guidelines.

Similarly, all ports may make suitable efforts to develop and install real time Online Continuous Effluent Monitoring system (OCEMS) with reference to the effluent parameter as mentioned in guidelines of MoEFCC with digital dashboard and if already installed the same is to be calibrated by the approved lab showing the real time value with reference to the permissible limit and to be hooked with MoPSW server, also within 12 months of launch of the Guidelines.

Author / Responsibility

Ajoy K Das

EnviX partner

Ajoy K Das