World Ocean Day brings shipping decarbonization top of mind

A red and white container ship is traveling on the ocean with the shoreline in the background.The International Maritime Organization and a California congressman look for strategies to lower emissions on World Ocean Day.

A red and white container ship is traveling on the ocean with the shoreline in the background.

Using just-in-time shipping to optimize speeds on ocean voyages could save 14% on fuel consumption, according to a new International Maritime Organization study.

Global and local organizations and governments are looking for ways to decarbonize shipping. Wednesday, World Ocean Day, FreightWaves looks at the IMO study released Tuesday and news that a California congressman plans to introduce a clean shipping bill in June.

Leaders of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee are meeting in London this week to discuss regulations and how to decarbonize shipping globally.

The IMO’s current target to reduce the shipping industry’s total greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels falls short of the Paris Agreement.

Impacts of just-in-time shipping on emissions

The study looked at how using just-in-time shipping for the entire voyage, for the last 24 hours and for only the last 12 hours of the trip impacted fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

The results concluded that shippers could save an average of:

  • 14.16% on fuel consumption per voyage while optimizing speed for the entire journey.
  • 5.9% on fuel consumption while optimizing speed for the last 24 hours of the voyage.
  • 4.23% on fuel consumption while optimizing speed for only the last 12 hours of the voyage.

“This indicates that implementing just in time over the last 12 hours of a voyage can already greatly contribute to fuels and emissions savings,” the IMO said.

Decreasing fuel consumption is something that benefits shippers’ bottom lines and the environment.

The study was commissioned by the IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2050’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping and undertaken by MarineTraffic and Energy and Environmental Research Associates.

“In fighting climate change, global shipping has a steep mountain to climb, and we need to pull all levers to deliver in line with the Paris Agreement. The study underlines that while we work to accelerate and scale the availability of the future green fuels, in the short-term significant emissions reductions can be achieved by bringing vessels, terminals and ports together to exchange standardized data and facilitate just-in-time arrivals,” Andreas van der Wurff, port optimization manager at A.P. Møller – Maersk and chair of the Low Carbon GIA Ship-Port Interface workstream, said in a statement.

California congressman aims to decarbonize shipping

The U.S. is lagging behind Europe and other regions when it comes to decarbonizing carbon-intensive sectors such as shipping. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat serving California’s 47th district, aims to change that.

Lowenthal, who represents the Port of Long Beach, announced Wednesday that he plans to introduce a bill sometime in June that is aimed at “zeroing out pollution from all ocean shipping companies that do business with the U.S.”

The soon-to-be introduced clean shipping bill seeks to:

  • Protect the health of communities near ports.
  • Address environmental injustice.
  • Provide solutions to the climate crisis.

“I have worked to clean up the maritime industry for my whole career, dating back to my earliest days on the Long Beach City Council,” Lowenthal said. “This bill continues that struggle. We must face the fact that we are at a tipping point in the climate crisis; we must move beyond fossil fuels, including in ocean shipping.”

Lowenthal continued: “For too long, the federal government has turned a blind eye to the immense pollution created by the shipping industry and failed to create regulations to clean up the industry. We have made progress, but communities like mine still suffer under the impacts of shipping on their air, oceans, climate and health. The technology now exists to end port pollution and clean up the shipping industry.”

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

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