The importance of sustainability in shipping and the maritime industry

Maritime transport plays a vital role in the global economy. Recognizing that the challenges of the future require significant changes, much debate has taken place on the sustainability of maritime transport and the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in order to protect the marine environment from increasing pollution.

Sustainable transportation is recognized as one of the greatest challenges of our century. Maritime transport, compared to other modes of transport, is relatively safe and clean, but it has a significant impact on the environment. It is imperative that the industry behaves in a more sustainable way. The environment, society and the economy are the pillars around which the principles of sustainable navigation must revolve.

The IMO MEPC uses legislative instruments, codes and guidance to achieve more sustainable shipping with many stakeholders involved in the process. An agreement on reducing carbon dioxide has been reached, agreeing that emissions must be reduced by 50% by 2050.

Sustainable Shipping Requirements

  1. Switch to a diverse mix of energy sources, use resources more efficiently and responsibly, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas intensity;
  2. Provide safe, healthy and secure work environments so people want to work in shipping, where they can enjoy rewarding careers and realize their full potential;
  3. Earn a reputation as a trusted and responsible partner in the communities where we live, work and operate;
  4. Develop financial solutions that reward sustainable performance and enable large-scale adoption of innovation, technology, design and operational efficiency;
  5. Transparency and accountability drive improved performance and enable better and sustainable business decision-making;

IMO delegates have decided that there should be a 40% improvement in ship efficiency by 2030 and a 50-70% improvement by 2050.

It is necessary to determine the “how” to reduce GHGs by 50% in 2050 compared to 2008 levels. The industry needs a strategy and this will require new and original partnerships! Therefore, the real value of sustainability lies in the efforts of organizations to comply with these policy measures, manage their social and environmental impacts, and improve operational efficiency and natural resource management; this remains an essential element of relations with shareholders, members of staff and stakeholders.

Shipowners need to reassess their investment strategy and look for cost-effective alternatives that will mitigate risk and create a more environmentally friendly and sustainable shipping industry. One idea on the table that could become a reality by 2030 is ending the use of fossil fuels and starting to use carbon-free alternative fuels as a replacement for heavy fuel oil which is the fossil fuel used in diesel engines. sailors.

Another sustainable alternative is the use of an innovative ultra-low sulfur fuel such as Plaxx (under development and testing in diesel engines), made from the efficient recycling of mixed plastic waste and compliant with new rules. resignation.

According to the IMO, there could be a policy implemented that would require shipowners to pay sums for the funding of research into alternative fuels. There is strong evidence that fleet owners planning to order ships in the 2020s will have to ditch fossil fuels and go non-fossil at some point in the life of those ships.

Another thing to bear in mind is that shippers and lenders are watching these drastic environmental, regulatory and technological developments very closely, and it will be interesting to see the reshuffling of market players, the implications on charter rates, adjustments to the business plans of several private equity-backed companies and the P&I Clubs approach.

All in all, to have sustainable and valuable shipping, an industry-compliant mindset and resources are needed. Since many different stakeholders are involved in the process, one of the critical factors in supporting sustainable shipping is understanding the concerns, needs and expectations of all parties.

At this point, the new regulations being put in place have created questions as to how charterers, suppliers, business partners and stakeholders are paying attention to these drastic environmental, regulatory and technological developments; perhaps their neutral attitude downplays the importance of sustainable shipping.

Sea News report, October 22