Shipping caries 90% of the world’s trade. In recent years, it has made good progress on the environmental impact it has, but the search for the long term answer continues.
Much like the ill-fated Costa Concordia, the shipping industry is looking to re-balance itself amidst the growing need for environmental sustainability. Despite a drop in oil spills and harmful gas emissions, and in increase in fuel efficient ship design in the last 15 years, the shipping industry is responsible for around 2.7% of all man-made greehouse carbon emissions.
The industry wide Sustainable Shipping Initiative SSI has been set up by some of shipping’s leading names with a mandate to “contribute to – and thrive – in a sustainable future”. They published their first report just this week.
One of the overriding messages from the report include the role that new technology will have. Gains are already being made through waste heat recovery systems, and more advanced pumps, valves, and scrubbers are also helping to cut energy use.
The SSI believes that cooperation is the only way to realise the potential of any advances in greening processes. Advances in technologies are often held up due to the risks of in-service testing – sharing the burden helps large and small companies alike
The SSI have made a progressive move, but will certainly face challenges ahead, and really need the backing of the entire industry. Promoting regulation is crucial too. A recent convention established compulsory technical and efficiency targets for new ships, and sets a good precedent for the way forward.