Ports & Harbours

Technology, power and protection

Creating greener, resilient, secure spaces

The UK has a proud and rich maritime history which has been integral to driving the prosperity of its economy for hundreds of years. Today, 95% of UK imports and exports is handled by its ports, places where around 22 million international passengers are also welcomed each year.

With ports and harbours rightly viewed as vital components of the UK’s transport infrastructure, the Department for Transport launched its Maritime 2050 strategy in January 2019 to make sure they are fit for the continued growth that’s predicted for UK shipping. The robust strategy centres on seven principal areas for development including, environment, infrastructure, security and resilience, and has a keen focus on the transition to zero-emissions shipping.


The challenge we find ourselves facing is: how do we best employ advanced technology to meet the necessity for greener, more resilient, safe and secure ports and harbours?

Siemens ahead of the curve with ship-to-shore connection

Ports are major contributors to high levels of CO2, nitrogen oxide (NOx), and sulphur dioxide. A cruise ship berthed at a port will emit - over an 8-hour period - the same level of NOx emissions equivalent to 10,000 cars travelling 100 miles each. And with evidence showing the current levels of pollution created by major ports is now a significant cause for concern for the health of local residents, there’s a growing urgency for action.

The solution to achieving zero emissions and reaching environmental targets is a shift from a reliance on diesel power and focused progress on the electrification of ports and harbours. One such answer is ship-to-shore power (SSP).


Until recently, UK ports have been reluctant to install an SSP supply as the outlay was seen only as justifiable if shipping companies ensured their vessels were compatible with the technology. But with all new boats from 2023 required to have an SSP connection, eyes have now turned to this as a solution with early adopters in the UK expected to be around cruise terminals.  


Siemens SIHARBOR SSP technology has been installed as part of a number of successful projects across Europe and solves one of the difficulties many companies face with SSP: that ships, including cruise ships, operate at 60hz and the UK’s electricity supply is 50hz. As experts in the areas of power and transmission, Siemens designed the SIHARBOR solution to include a frequency converter and control software to change the frequency of the electricity grid and a transformer that alters the voltage to match a ships electrical system.


SIHARBOR directly enables the elimination on the reliance of diesel for a cheaper, greener solution for a healthier environment.

Critical power and resilient supply keeps the gateway to the world open

Ports are in use 24/7, with each component - from storage yards to container cranes to truck barrier systems - essential to their smooth operation. They are the gateway between the UK and the rest of the world so a secure and resilient power supply is crucial to avoiding interruptions.

When we consider the consequences of a power outage at a major port for any significant amount of time the outcomes range from small to serious with a valuable asset in the UK’s infrastructure left disrupted and vulnerable. Delays, congestion, queued containers and extended gate times all come with a potentially substantial cost as a result of power loss.


Critical power is about keeping operations running and keeping people safe and that involves making sure there is a resilient and reliable power supply. Critical areas such as a security and command centre require an uninterruptable power supply and we do this only by creating the most efficient electricity structure.


Siemens is a market leader in distributed energy solutions that deliver cost effective security of supply for ports and harbours. Our expertise means we’re best placed to consult on the most efficient and reliable technologies with extensive knowledge of wind power, heat recovery, solar PV and battery storage included in our portfolio of energy management solutions.


By working closely with UK ports and harbours we intend to keep the gateway to the world open without delay or disruption. 

Creating a perfectly protected port

If we look closely at threats to ports and harbours, we’ll likely see two clear culprits: fire and security. Flammable goods and cargo, and the high-temperature engines of cranes must be managed vigilantly; likewise the increasing threat to security from cyber-attacks, terrorism and crime. With potentially thousands of people employed at major ports and tonnes of cargo being received and distributed, it’s vital that the port is a perfectly protected place.

Siemens has developed a range of CCTV and security solutions with a level of adaptability that means they’re suitable for any building or space. High-quality imaging allows remote monitoring of cargo and passenger vessels as well as entries and exits and more sensitive areas of the port that require constant observation. People feel safe and protected and the port is secure.


Protection of port buildings also goes hand in hand with fire safety. Siemens portfolio of advanced fire safety technology ranges from detection, alarming, evacuation and extinguishing through to danger and building management. With the right system and advanced technology, lives are protected, assets are protected and business continuity is protected. 

Shore connection for berthed ships: SIHARBOR



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