Monday, December 28, 2015

Shipping Pollution Remains a Priority for Logistics - Whether Ocean, Air or Road Transported Freight

Whilst Global Efforts on Reduction Continue Some Say UK Haulage Hit Unfairly
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – UK – 2016 is likely to continue much in the vein of 2015 as regards efforts to improve emissions of CO2 and other pollutants, and shipping, whether ocean, air or road borne freight, is likely to remain in the foreground of the fight to reduce the impact on the environment. The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), an independent charity which counts some of the biggest hitters in the logistics sector as its founder members, was formed to tackle just such large scale sustainability matters, and the group has now issued a statement calling upon upon the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to show real leadership following the recent COP21 assembly.

SSI is looking to the IMO to create an ambitious and progressive global framework that will facilitate the necessary and urgent reduction in CO2 emissions from the industry that is needed to support the below 2-degree target. The statement reads:

“The conclusion of COP21, and the unified response by 200 countries to mitigate the huge risks of climate change, should be met with optimism. It is a significant step in getting commitment and setting clear objectives that will require a global move towards alternative, clean and renewable energy.

“Although there is no specific mention of shipping within the text, it does not diminish the considerable role that the industry must play in achieving a target of below 2 degrees warming. The scale of the challenge has already been identified and will only be achieved if there is early action by the IMO to create a global framework that is ambitious, progressive, and fully supported by regional regulators and jurisdictions, as well as the industry alike. Similar to the COP21 agreement, shipping must adopt a unified response based on collaboration, pragmatism and controlled urgency.

“The Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting (MEPC69) in April 2016 is a crucial landmark, and an opportunity for the IMO to demonstrate to the world its commitment to shipping playing its part in the global reductions.”

In the UK the authorities in some cities are being accused of failing in their duties by passing the responsibility for reducing pollution on to the road haulage sector. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says exempting cars from the proposed Clean Air Zones in five English cities is a missed opportunity to significantly improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.

The FTA has previously expressed reservations regarding Clean Air Zones, saying they are relatively expensive and potentially disruptive options that deliver limited results and that, while larger hauliers may be able to shoulder the cost of vehicle improvements, smaller operators are unlikely to be able to afford to upgrade equipment ahead of schedule. For diesel vans, the Euro 6 requirement does not come into force until September 2016. Therefore a large number of operators will have substantially pre-Euro 6 van fleets in 2020, especially those who utilise second-hand vehicles.

Last week the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby would be required to introduce Clean Air Zones to reduce concentrations of nitrogen dioxide by 2020 at the latest. In Birmingham and Leeds, the Clean Air Zone will cover HGVs, light goods vehicles, buses, coaches and taxis, while in Southampton, Nottingham and Derby only HGVs, buses, coaches and taxis will be included. HGVs will need to be Euro VI or above to access the Clean Air Zones or face a charge. All ultra-low emission vehicles will be given free access, providing a much needed incentive to invest in alternatively fuelled vehicles and low carbon technologies. Rachael Dillon, FTA’s Climate Change Policy Manager, said:

“Everyone has to play their part to help improve air quality but rather than sharing the burden of meeting air quality targets, the Government has firmly rested the responsibility on other modes including freight which access cities to deliver the goods and services to keep our economy moving. The FTA recognises the urgent need for the UK to meet EU air quality targets and to improve local air quality for residents. We also recognise that the freight sector must contribute. But to fail to include cars, a major source of pollutants, in such plans is baffling. We would urge Defra to rethink. If we are to meet air quality targets, surely all road transport must be covered? The Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London from 2020 will include cars.”