Thursday, September 3, 2015

Shipping Emissions - Freight Forwarder Gives You a Chance to Have Your Say on the Industries Motives

Why the Drive for Green Shipping - Social Conscience, Money or Both?
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Project freight forwarding agent Tuscor Lloyd’s, tells us the company has just completed another sizeable out of gauge shipment between Spain and Indonesia and, whilst yet again undertaking the actual mechanics of moving consignments around the world, has been giving thought to something uppermost in the mind of many logistics executives, ‘Green’ shipping and its place in the trade, plus the motives of those industry stakeholders who either promote it or denigrate it.

The Tuscor Lloyd’s team has devised a poll enabling anyone to vote on what they perceive as the motives behind this environmental drive, and a link to this can be found at the foot of this article. With ocean shipping accounting for 90% of global trade it could be considered fairly reasonable that the industry only actually accounts for around 3% of CO2, a fact uncovered in a recent study by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, and that total being equivalent to Japan or Germany’s carbon footprint as well as being the same as for total international aviation emissions.

At a recent meeting in London the IMO rejected a proposal on capping emissions reassuring us that the issue would be ‘addressed at an appropriate future date’. But when exactly that future date will be is a mystery. With an ever growing sector and tightening targets from the UN limiting global temperature rise to below 2o C, how long can we afford to wait? The IMO’s own research suggests that shipping emissions are set to rise up to 250% by 2050. Despite the impression that the industry sails on regardless, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), which we covered in our March article, is hoping to turn the tide. Members include major carriers and cargo owners, all with a focus on energy efficiencies and contributions to a ‘sustainable future.’

The introduction in January of new legislation in European waters backed up the drive off US coasts and elsewhere with the introduction of Emission Control Areas (ECAs), again something we have covered at length and which met with a very mixed reception from the industry. The new EU rules are intended to, ‘substantially reduce air pollution and its impacts on human health’, with various estimated costs for the industry, Tuscor Lloyd’s quote a figure of £300 million for the switch to low sulphur fuel but the simple fact is the actual cost is impossible to calculate.

This is because many older ships are retrofitting scrubber technology, newbuilds have redesigned engines, some vessels will in future be powered by a variety of liquid gases etc. and comparative fuel prices in the future cannot be foreseen. The latest advances in ship design have seen new propulsion systems, waste energy recovery and innovative hull form design to reduce added resistance, but are these all a declaration of long term greener shipping, or the relentless quest for efficiency to impact the bottom line?

Strategies such as slow steaming have had a double benefit for some of the lines, better economy sits next to lower emissions with companies such as South Korea’s DSME in the van, building ever larger container ships such as Maersk’s Triple E series and the many copycat successors. As long ago as 2009 we wrote of NYK’s concept vessel, Super Eco Ship 2030, boasting of 69% less CO2 emissions. The design uses solar panels to help propel the ship as well as electronic based freight loading and unloading processes, as can be seen here.

A year later we heard details of the Det Norske Veritas (DNV) Quantum concept, a dual fuel LNG/diesel powered container ship of around 6,000 TEU, and of course made mention last year of the Vindskip™, although our slightly disparaging remarks at the time might well have been justified as that companies website seems now to have vanished.

So what do you think is the main motivator behind the drive for cleaner shipping? The Tuscor Lloyd’s poll asks whether driven by money, environmental concern or a bit of both – make your decision carefully as you only get one chance to vote HERE.