On one level, the overall 2.7 percent of greenhouse carbon emissions which comes from shipping, appears to be relatively small. But it adds up. And the International Maritime Organization (IMO) wants to see that percentage lowered by 20 percent by 2020.
There is a more ambitious goal to drop the percentage by 50 percent in 2050.
In addition, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), which includes among other firms, Cargill, DNV, Lloyd's Register, Maersk Line, Unilever and Wärtsilä, wants to see, “a sustainable future.” A recent progress report and industry meeting addressed some of these issues, including energy efficiency and shipping.
One example is how electrical generators on ships are powered by waste-heat recovery systems using captured heat and pressure in the exhaust gas. In addition, pumps, scrubbers and valves can lower fuel and energy use.
A successful example is also how Maersk Line last year already lowered CO2 by 25 percent – well before the 2020 deadline. The line will also add 20 Triple-E ships.
"The Triple-E ships will take the industry in a new and more environmentally conscious direction, emitting 20 percent less carbon dioxide per container … compared to the most energy efficient container vessel operating today,” Thomas Riber Knudsen, CEO of Maersk Line's Asia-Pacific operations, told The Guardian newspaper.
In addition, SSI cites both cooperation and collaboration by the industry to improve carbon emissions in the shipping sector, SSI director Helle Gleie said. One example is the “Save as you sail” tool. "Developed with the support of Dutch bank ABN Amro, the tool allows ship owners and charterers to identify estimated fuel cost savings and return on investment associated with Green retrofits. This information can then be used to set charter hire rates, as well as for a short-term loans, to cover the upfront costs of green upgrades,” The Guardian reported.
SSI and Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) have also come up with an online database to track materials used in ship building while a web-based tool is being tested in a Beta that lets companies in the sector sort through ecological rating schemes.
The shipping sector is cruising on a clear course to improve the environment through a variety of options. And the environment will benefit, as a result.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi