Together with other traditional industries, shipping is becoming more sustainable. The global push toward sustainability is transforming the shipping industry, with many companies putting policies in place that will be beneficial both for their customers and for the natural environment.
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Many people are beginning to understand the paramount importance of sustainability. Pollution negatively impacts the environment and human health directly. Citizens with environmentally conscious principles are demanding that industries like shipping and manufacturing update their procedures to move away from the damaging effects of their past operational systems.
This focus on environmental issues is pulling shipping companies away from the wasteful and polluting activities of the past and helping them become better global citizens.
Brian Ladin, a shipping industry expert, and CEO of Delos Shipping explains how traditional industries like shipping are becoming more sustainable and the steps that these industries can take to become more environmentally friendly.
One of the buzzwords being used today in traditional industry is decarbonization. Decarbonization refers to the reduction of carbon in the atmosphere thanks to environmentally friendly actions. The goal is to convert to an economic system that reduces carbon emissions on a sustainable level and also compensates for the emissions of carbon dioxide.
Decarbonization is an especially important concept for shipping companies to understand. The world’s levels of carbon dioxide are dangerously high, leading to global climate change. Our oceans are rising both in temperature and sea level, disrupting the natural order and causing disruption for wildlife.
All industries need to do their part toward decarbonization to help our ecosystems survive. Some ways in which industries can increase their efficiency include changing the type of fuel they use, redesigning buildings and machinery in order to make them more fuel-efficient, and using renewable energy like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
Carbon is not the only polluting agent in our atmosphere. The shipping industry is also working to reduce its nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide emissions. These emissions are damaging to the environment in a different fashion but deserve equally swift action.
Ocean Shipping Versus Other Forms of Transport
While ocean shipping has been considered polluting, the overall carbon impact of shipping by water is significantly lower than shipping by air or by truck. The per-ton carbon cost of ocean shipping is lower than that of air transport or truck transport by land. While ocean shipping produces only 3 grams of carbon emissions per ton-kilogram, air freight produces 435 grams. This means that ocean shipping is more environmentally friendly than air shipping overall.
Even though ocean shipping has the lowest carbon emissions of any form of transport, shipping interests are still attempting to reduce their impact on the environment and create a more sustainable industry. It makes economic sense because fuel is the greatest expense for shipping companies, and anything that reduces costs while staying efficient is a worthy change.
Diesel and LNG Fuels
The shipping industry has traditionally been reliant on diesel fuel, a highly polluting fossil fuel. The push for sustainability, as well as better efficiency and lower costs, has led to a large-scale conversion of major shipping vessel engines to LNG (liquified natural gas) fuel.
LNG fuel emits 30 percent less carbon dioxide than diesel. It also does not emit dust, soot, or fumes. Ships using LNG fuels are quieter and more efficient than diesel-fueled ships.
Vessel Energy Efficiency
The International Maritime Organization has put forth guidelines for energy efficiency in ship design. This design requirement aims to reduce emissions and make ships more fuel-efficient. Reducing vessel speed, sharing vessels with other carriers, and building larger ships that are more efficient per ton of cargo carried are all important changes that need to be made.
Some of the environmentally-friendly changes made in ship design include engines that are designed to use less fuel, propellers that create more forward motion with less energy, and efficient hull designs.
Companies Leading the Way to Sustainable Shipping
Nippon Yusen Kaisha, one of the world’s largest shipping interests, is pushing to adopt sustainable initiatives. It is focused on meeting a 2022 goal for lower emissions. Other companies on the forefront of sustainability include Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival, Wilhelmsen, and Maersk.
Increasing Energy Efficiency for the Good of the Planet
Brian Ladin underlines the importance of sustainability and its impact on the environment. Even though ocean shipping is already the most carbon-efficient form of transport, the shipping industry is focusing on increasing its efficiency and producing fewer emissions. One of the biggest changes is coming from the conversion of diesel engines to LNG fuels.
Other traditional industries like manufacturing should pay attention to the changes made by the shipping industry and use them as an example when conforming to new environmental regulations.
Shipping is leading the way toward decarbonization for the good of the world’s environment. Together with other traditional industries, shipping is becoming more sustainable. The global push toward sustainability is transforming the shipping industry, with many companies putting policies in place that will be beneficial both for their customers and for the natural environment.