In response to the dire warnings about global warming, countries are being challenged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions – one aspect of this is how goods are transported globally. The shipping community, together with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has responded to these challenges both voluntarily and through regulation.
The shipping industry transports 90% of global trade and as you can see from the diagrams below, statistically it is the least ecologically damaging mode of transport. However, our industry accounts for 3-4% of man-made CO2 emissions worldwide and this figure is expected to rise to 6% by 2020. Some predict that emissions will double by 2050 if no action is taken, so there is no room to be complacent.
Since the 1950s, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has set the regulatory standards in the shipping industry working towards international consensus. Their senior technical committee on marine pollution is the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has the mandate to work with the shipping industry to improve environmental standards. In March they met in London and produced four sets of guidelines designed to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from the global shipping industry. The four guidelines adopted focus on revising the Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships and developing a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).
These guidelines are designed to sit alongside the mandatory regulations on energy efficiency of ships introduced by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Annex VI) which comes into force next January. Their expected impact can be seen in this graph from the IMO.
Siem Car Carriers takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. We focus particularly on reducing our vessels’ fuel consumption through ‘slow steaming’. A recent report ‘Regulated slow steaming in maritime transport’ by consultants CD Delft estimated that if global average maritime speeds were reduced by 10%, then carbon dioxide savings would rise to 19%.
We believe that shipping remains the most ecologically efficient way to transport products – our analysis suggests that for every ton of fuel we don’t burn across the 3 vessels operating the NAPA service, we save 150 tons of CO2 emissions every day. We hope that the IMO recognises the benefits of slow steaming in its future discussions on how the shipping industry supports international emissions reductions.