Chilean Seaports’ Energy Landscape Revealed

Survey Unveils Consumption Patterns, Emission Reductions, and Cost Surge in Maritime Terminals


In a collaborative effort, the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications’ Logistics Development Program and Conecta Logística have conducted a thorough examination of the energy consumption of Chile’s primary port terminals. The survey, titled “Energy Consumption and Emissions Survey,” spans across 22 port facilities from Arica to Punta Arenas, encompassing all state-owned ports and, for the first time, incorporating the inaugural privately-owned public-use terminal.

Utilizing the Logistics-Port Information and Statistics System (SIELP), the survey aims to provide a diagnostic overview of energy consumption, efficiency, and associated costs within the maritime sector. Furthermore, it sheds light on the initiatives implemented by port terminals to measure Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions linked to their operations.

Emission Reduction Efforts

The survey divulges that port terminals collectively consumed a total of 239 GWh-eq (Giga Watt-hours equivalent) in 2022, roughly equivalent to the annual average consumption of 30,000 households or cities such as San Antonio, Quillota, San Felipe, Buin, San Fernando, or Villarrica. Despite representing a 1% increase from the previous year, the energy consumed per ton transferred, known as energy efficiency, rose by 9% compared to 2021, owing to a decrease in tonnage transferred through the ports in 2022.

Despite the increase in energy consumption, emissions of greenhouse gases stemming from energy consumption saw an 11% reduction in 2022 compared to the previous year, totaling 60,600 tons of CO2 equivalents. Noteworthy reductions were observed in the Central-Southern and Southern macrozones, with a 12% and 10% decline, respectively. In contrast, the Northern macrozone experienced a 2% increase in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Southern Ports Experience Energy Consumption Surge

The measurement highlights that the Central-Southern zone accounts for 82% of the energy consumed, while the Northern zone represents 16%. The remaining 2% of energy consumption corresponds to the Southern zone.

Examining their behavior in 2022, ports in the Northern zone maintained their energy consumption per ton, averaging 4.4 kWh-eq/ton, compared to 2021. Conversely, ports in the Southern zone exhibited the highest increase in energy consumption per unit of transferred cargo, with an average of 19%.

By cargo type, ports primarily handling containers were found to require more energy per ton, particularly refrigerated containers necessitating electrical power during their stay. Conversely, ports dealing with bulk cargo demonstrated lower energy requirements, likely due to specialized storage and loading/unloading processes.

Diesel Emerges as Primary Energy Source

Regarding energy sources in 2022, diesel accounted for 66% of total energy usage in ports. This fuel was predominantly employed in electric generators, vehicles, and machinery with internal combustion engines. Following closely was electricity from the National Electric System at 31%, with other minor sources contributing 3%.

The energy source distribution varied across the country. In the Southern zone, 49% of energy originated from liquefied natural gas (LNG), and 42% from the electrical grid. In the Northern macrozone, only 15% of total energy consumed came from the electrical grid. Meanwhile, the Central-Southern macrozone relied on diesel for 64% of its energy and the electrical grid for 34%.

Associated Costs on the Rise

Concerning the financial aspect, over CLP 21,000 million was allocated to energy consumption costs in ports in 2022, marking a 46% increase from the previous year. A significant surge in diesel expenditure was notable, rising from 39% of total expenditure in 2021 to 57% in 2022.

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