• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Deploying energy efficient technologies for greener shipping

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It is over 50 years ago, that world leaders, environmentalists and public intellectuals gathered at Stockholm to plan how to preserve and enhance human environment in order to green our world. How do we protect a world inhabited by over 8 billion people with the sea covering almost 80 percent of the earth’s surface. From Stockholm to Kyoto, the debate continued on global warming till date.

Prior to the 2022 World Maritime Day, the key question that resonates in the industry as maritime organizations face increasing pressure from charterers, seafarers, regulatory bodies, shipowners and stakeholders is how shipping can be sustainable and responsible.

This year’s World Maritime Day Celebration took place on 29 September 2022. The theme of the celebration focused on “Newer technologies for greener shipping.” Why was this theme chosen? It is to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future while leaving no one behind, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Besides decay in maritime and port infrastructures in most less developed countries, and aging ships plying the global commons, there are concerns about the damage to the environment as a result of pollution

The theme is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) particularly SDGs 13 and 14 which deal with climate change and sustainable use of the oceans. Closely linked to the theme are SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure; and SDG 17, which highlights the importance of partnerships and implementation to achieve these goals.

Besides decay in maritime and port infrastructures in most less developed countries, and aging ships plying the global commons, there are concerns about the damage to the environment as a result of pollution. The rise in prominence of environmental issues has resulted in the IMO actively supporting a greener transition of the shipping sector into a sustainable future, and showcase research and development, maritime innovation and the demonstration and deployment of new technologies.

In order to achieve these objectives, the current Secretary General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, said that: “Partnerships are very vital provided all parties involved are allowed to share and disseminate information on best practices and to access resources and general know-how in support of the transition of the maritime sector into a greener and more sustainable future.”

For some maritime experts, the desire to have a greener shipping is to benefit the maritime environment globally. This, they argued was to fight climate change, reduce air pollution and curtail the harm that is inflicted on the sea and its resources. There are those stakeholders whose desire to have a greener shipping are motivated by their love and concern for health and well-being of humanity. We must always remember that the sea covers about 80 percent of the earth’s surface and about 50-60 percent of the air we breath comes from the sea. So, we must protect the sea from carbon emissions and all forms of pollutants.

Shipping, however, accounts for some 3 percent of the world’s emissions annually, according to data from World Bank. Before the outbreak of Covid-19, carbon emissions from shipping in the past are increasing due to a rise in maritime trade. This, according to researchers, have a serious impact on global warming.

People are becoming more aware of the shipping emission challenges. Separate studies have shown that if there is no action taken, CO2emissions will not only be higher than previously expected but would continue to rise as world trade booms.

In 2021, a report from Lloyd’s List shows that shipping emissions have risen by 4.9 percent as a result of 833 metric tons of CO2 emitted compared to 794 metric tons in 2020 and 800 metric tons in 2019. This, according to analysts represents an inconvenient truth for the IMO. So, IMO has taken a decision to cut ships’ carbon intensity by 40 percent by 2030 amid severe criticism for failing to agree on further checks that will meet international climate change objectives. It is 2030 that the UN Sustainable Development Goals are expected to be met by all nations. Bearing in mind global economic challenges, will most nations achieve specific goals of SDGs 13,14, 9 and 17 for greener shipping?

Read also: Genesis Shipping plans new container terminals to ease cargo movement

But maritime experts are of the view that about 75 percent of the global fleet will not be able to comply with IMO’s new technical metrics which is effective from January 2023 despite regulatory pressures. Central to the IMO debate is how to ensure that the transition to greener shipping is equitable with no country left behind.

The world bank is considering generating carbon revenues from all countries. This may likely be a game changer for the energy transition. So, for newer, more -energy efficient and often safer ships from developed countries, there are suggestions to apply carbon price. While less developed countries with older, less energy-efficient and less safe vessels may have no carbon price applied, according to a world bank analysis. How this suggestion will work remains to be seen in a world that is full of contradictions.

Why then is shipping struggling to innovate? It is because of business models adopted by shipowners. What matters to shipowners is return on investment not research and development. Research and Development as an endeavor is costly and risky with a lot of uncertainties. Many shipping companies in less developed countries will certainly not go the route of Research and Development. That is why many firms in shipping in less developed countries are no longer fit – for – purpose in an era of technological and operational revolution. .

As the debate continues, some maritime experts are of the view that bigger innovation will occur when there is an overhaul in shipping business models and performance – based trading. It is important to stress that “the capital expenditure of installing energy-saving technology into vessels can be enormous, so consideration must be given to the entire value chain.”

Improving infrastructure within global maritime space especially ports, shipbuilding facilities, dredged channels, dams and other tangible structures and access to ports are imperatives that must be accorded top priority. These are capital -intensive endeavors which require energy efficient technologies for innovation. In the final analysis, experts say, that innovation will require collaboration, scale, data and entirely new business models.

As the world works towards greener shipping, here’s wishing all seafarers, charterers, shipowners, and maritime stakeholders fair wind and following seas with the firm believe that their anchors will hold in the storms of life. Thank you.