The Brave New World of Shipping
24th August 2010 02:48 GMT

Historically, the shipping industry has paid little attention to environmental issues due to the widespread belief that shipping is, relatively speaking, "one of the cleanest modes of transport in terms of emissions per tonne of cargo carried". However, emissions from land based industrial activities have been steadily declining and shipping has come under growing pressure to improve its emissions scorecard and keep up with emissions reduction achievements ashore.

While the industry is generally notorious for being slow to react to environmental issues, it is now undeniable that having a comprehensive environmental agenda is critical for shipping companies. Many countries and regulators are no longer willing to look the other way, particularly in key markets such as Europe and the United States. The spotlight is especially harsh on the industry as not only traditional emissions issues such as SOx and NOx are being focused upon, but CO2 as well. The developments at IMO as well as United Nations, have thrown a focus on shipping’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. Although discussions on the regulation of CO2 in shipping have not been concluded, it is expected that it is only a matter of time before the shipping industry is called to task and required to control these operational greenhouse gas emissions and that these will steadily crystallize into firm regulations.

It is essential that ship operators learn from past experiences with emissions regulations. For example, the recent boiler conundrum concerning the use of low sulphur (0.10% m/m) gas oil at berth in EU comes to mind. Unprepared ship operators argued, in some instances through industry associations, that there was insufficient time to prepare for the various step changes. Yet the step changes in SOx emissions regulations were scheduled many years prior in various global and regional environmental directives. The truth was that there was enough time to comply and make the necessary machinery modifications if action had been taken when it was evident that regulation would come into force.

As legislation and regulation become ever more imminent, shipowners need to start planning from the beginning of the ships cycle, prior to placing orders for new ships in order to avoid greater costs in the long run. Ordering new ships that comply with forthcoming environmental requirements would be a more financially sound and a less complicated solution than retrofitting ships to comply with regulations in the future. Fuel efficiency also helps the bottom line and a number of solutions pay themselves back in a relatively short period of time. In planning their long-term strategies, shipowners should bear these in mind when preparing to invest in new ships.

In fact, a number of companies have recognised this opportunity in the market and solutions for shipping are rising. Technology is constantly being developed to help reduce the environmental impact of ships and meet emissions regulations. Alternative fuels, such as LNG and biofuel, are becoming more viable options as technology and experience with these fuels advance in a bid to curb ship’s emissions. Technological solutions such as scrubbers, which allow operators to continue using bunker fuel, are also getting more advanced, enabling the use of the most cost efficient fuel available without the large emissions impact they are traditionally associated with.

Shipyards are also increasingly offering options for new build ships that are more fuel efficient and eco-friendly, as they realise that there are competitive advantages to being at the forefront of this "brave new world" - the environmental era of shipping. Ship design and operations have scarcely evolved and much has remained unchanged in the last 50 years. Nonetheless, shipyards that continue to build the same bog standard ship designs of the past few decades will be pushed out of the market in the foreseeable future.

In this respect it should be noted that not only shipyards and owners have a part to play in building better and sustainable ships but the whole maritime industry including shippers, charterers, ship builders, designers, research houses, classification societies, governments and the IMO. For true progress, all stakeholders have to come together and combine their efforts in finding new solutions for the industry.

The drumbeat of change is sounding and it is important that the shipping industry heeds its call. While there may be operators who feel they can postpone or avoid compliance by redeploying ships to routes with less stringent environmental requirements, even economics supports the case for considering the environment in business decisions. Those that make the progressive investments necessary will be able to capitalise on the opportunities that more flexible and environmentally robust ships can offer. By applying foresight and understanding that environmental regulations are here to stay, shrewd and responsible ship owners/operators will be primed to take optimum advantage of the new shipping climate.


Douglas Raitt,
24th August 2010 02:48 GMT

Comments on this Blog
Graham Taylor - Unlimited Energy Technologies
1st September 2010
Douglas,

Your message "new world of shipping" is first class, but it can only be addressed to ship owners, as it is only they who place new build orders with a ship yard, not the charterer or shipmanagement company.

You are correct, "the industry is generally notorious for being slow to react to environmental issues", but this is not the fault of the ship owners, as in the recent past, it is the fault of the ships engine manufacturers, due to all the obsticals they put in the way for companies like mine, to introduce new technologies to save fuel and GHG emissions, but this is not so any more, as one of the worlds biggest ships engine manufacturers are now offering their own technologies/methodologies to reduce GHG emissions, which they have tested on vessels for over 100,000hrs, and these technologies/methodologies to reduce GHG emissions, are very / very / very simular to the technologies my company offers, but our technologies have an advantage, as they also offer (guaranteed) fuel consumption savings as well as GHG emission savings.

Why am I informing the world shipping industry of another companies technologies, why, because MANN B&W are stating that with their technologies you can add 30% water with your engines fuel, (the same as we do), but comming from a world reknown engine manufacturer, who is going to doubt them.

The ship engine manufacturer offering the GHG emission saving technologies/methodologies is MANN B&W, and you can view their information on their web pages.

and you can view my companies GHG emissions saving, and (Guaranteed) fuel consumption savings information at:
www.unlimited-energy-technologies.com

As you say Douglas:

"As legislation and regulation become ever more imminent, shipowners need to start planning from the beginning of the ships cycle, prior to placing orders for new ships in order to avoid greater costs in the long run. Ordering new ships that comply with forthcoming environmental requirements would be a more financially sound and a less complicated solution than retrofitting ships to comply with regulations in the future".

Graham Taylor
Graham Taylor - Unlimited Energy Technologies
1st September 2010
oops: Our web page is: www.unlimited-energy-technologies.com
Graham Taylor - Unlimited Energy Technologies
1st September 2010
for some reason the .com is not showing on our web page
Heinz Otto
2nd September 2010
Thanks Douglas Raitt,
i fully agree your BLOG reg,. a BRAVE NEW WORLD OF SHIPPING:
UNO has to start a round Table with all players in this industry. Events like that whre suggested from me several times to the Administration in Berlin, but with small effects. Maybe one of the results is the gmec-hamburg.de - congress next week.
As you know, i personally struggle since 30 years for a reuse of the windpower for shippropulsion - see: windships.de .There is no other way, to reduce the GHG-emissions of ships in a greater step. All the scrabbing-systems will bring only a greenwashing-effect for the shipping - industry. There must be done more, as you suggest with the drumbeat of change. Have an eye to the fact of peakoil.net .
yours Heinz Otto

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