5 adverse effects of climate change on maritime transport

climate change in maritime transport

The maritime sector is a major global industry. In fact, an article published by the World Bank reports that shipping accounts for 80% of all world trade’s total volume. However, like other lucrative industries, it doesn’t only deal with accommodating a high demand for services, but also constantly faces numerous environmental issues.

Why exactly should shipping companies be involved with battling climate change? There are countless reasons, but one that stands out the most—if we assess matters through an economic perspective—is that climate change is a large threat to the industry itself.

Below, we’ll discuss several impacts of climate change on maritime transport, specifically on its efficiency and profitability.

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Cost impact of IMO 2020

IMO2020 - shipping and freight resource

IMO2020 is getting serious commercially..

As everyone may have read, as of January 2020, all ships are required to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5% or less on all of the world’s oceans..

The ship owners have a few options to ensure compliance and meet lower sulphur emission standards, each with some pros and cons..

Let’s look at the cost impact of IMO2020..

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CMA CGM chooses environment over Northern Sea Route

Northern Sea Route - CMA CGM

The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean along the Russian coast of Siberia and Far East.. This route crosses Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea..

Five years ago this route was quite empty between December to May.. But as per reports, currently there are more than 20 ships per day on average which are active on this route..

This is testament to the effects of climate change and global warming..

This route has become quite popular in the name of saving on transit time and costs and almost 500,000 tons of cargo passed through this route in 2018..

It has been reported that 164 different companies navigated on the route operating 26 voyages between Europe and Asia..

One shipping line however, is choosing environmental and social responsibility to protect the biodiversity of both the Arctic region and the entire planet over the Northern Sea Route..

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Reconditioning customers to accept Green, Slow Shipping

Shipping and Freight Resource Opinion

Society’s perception of environmentally and socially responsible shipping practices is far from the truth. When Amazon unveiled the promise of free two-day shipping for Prime members, customers were thrilled.

The processes were already in place to enable fast delivery, so what could be the harm in more people benefiting from even shorter delivery windows?

Amazon recognized how this service would impact on sales, and began offering free same-day shipping on millions of products starting in May 2019. It all looks like an Amazon Prime Member benefit.

That is the problem in its entirety.

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Maersk pilots carbon-netural shipping

shipping and freight news

With #IMO2020 fast approaching – 194 days away as of this article – shipping lines, customers and ship owners are working hard on finding ways to be compliant (whether they like it or not)..

This is especially important in the wake of recent comments from IMO’s Frederick Kenney about the possibility of a postponement of the IMO2020 deadline “The chance is really zero. Procedurally, there is no mechanism that would allow the 0.50% regulation, as it stands right now, to change from 1 January 2020.”

There are still some questions over the use of open loop scrubbers which have been identified by the IMO as one of the several methods through which ships can meet lower sulphur emission standards.. Some of the main bunkering ports like Singapore and Fujairah have banned open loop scrubbers in their waters whereas some countries like South Africa have said yes to all types of approved scrubbers..

Then there are also the usage of bio fuels to power ships and shipments..

In what is termed as a first of its kind in the industry, a new carbon neutral product is being piloted by Maersk Line – the world’s largest container shipping line..

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Noah’s Train – A climate minded train for climate change awareness

Noahs Train - climate minded train - shipping and freight resource

It really warms the cockles of my heart when I see the shipping and freight industry taking positive steps to address the issue of climate change..

I was truly inspired when I saw the initiative by Rail Freight Forward led by Europe’s freight operating companies as part of its commitment to boosting climate protection..

Noah’s Train, the world’s longest mobile work of art, has been travelling through Europe since December 2018 stopping at various cities in Europe..

Europe’s freight operating companies are using this special train, which was inspired by Noah’s Ark, to promote the movement of more freight traffic via rail in the interests of the environment..

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No agreement on minimum speed requirements for ships @ MEPC74

minimum speed requirements - shipping and freight resource

224 days to go as of this post before #IMO2020 comes into effect.. I wrote recently about an open letter to IMO Member States by NGOs which states that the shipping industry must take appropriate measures to address climate change urgently..

As an initial step, these NGOs expressed their strong support for the IMO’s proposal to regulate ship speeds across various ship type and size categories.. In the letter, the NGOs said their preference would be to set maximum annual average speeds for container ships, and maximum absolute speeds for the remaining ship types, which take account of minimum speed requirements..

Of course, this was not welcomed by all, least of all by container carriers as it would result in them having to increase their fleet size to meet the delivery schedules imposed on them by the trade.. As per the carriers, this would defeat the purpose of trying to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) emissions..

The letter said that this regulation should be implemented as soon as possible and the obligation for compliance should be placed both on shipowners and operators, including charterers and called on all parties at the forthcoming IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC74) to support this move..

Well, #MEPC74 has come and gone but there has been no agreement or deal on any of the proposals put forward to reduce GHG emissions..

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Do you support mandatory regulation of ship speeds..??

what is your opinion

As at the time of writing of this article, 244 days is what is left before ships have to comply with #IMO2020 (I actually put up a countdown on my sidebar)..

What IMO2020 is, has been discussed in detail across many articles on this blog, so I won’t repeat in great detail..

An open letter to IMO Member States by NGOs has expressed strong support for the IMO to implement mandatory regulation of global ship speeds differentiated across ship type and size categories..

Industry experts especially in container shipping seem divided on this.. Do you support mandatory regulation of ship speeds..??

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Hapag-Lloyd on track to achieve target of 20% reduction in emissions

shipping and freight news

Hapag-Lloyd has a container capacity of approximately 2.6 million TEUs including one of the largest and most modern fleets of reefer containers operated on the back of 120 liner services worldwide connecting more than 600 ports on all the continents..

Hapag-Lloyd is also one of the leading operators in the Transatlantic, Middle East, Latin America and Intra-America trades..

As per Hapag-Lloyd, their container shipping makes a significant contribution to a well-functioning global trade and as such bears a special responsibility for the environment, its customers and shareholders, and its employees..

In line with this, they have released their current sustainability report, titled “Gathering Pace Together”, which gives an insight into the broad spectrum of Hapag-Lloyd’s sustainability-related activities, which deals with topics such as combating corruption, employee training and data protection..

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South Africa says yes to all types of approved scrubbers

IMO2020 - shipping and freight resource

In 2016, at the 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting in London, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) took a landmark decision setting 1st January 2020 as the implementation date for a significant reduction in the sulphur content of the fuel oil used by ships..

As per this decision, MARPOL Annex VI has been revised, lowering the current global limit for sulphur content of marine fuels from 3.50% to 0.50% as from the 1st of January 2020..

IMO advised several methods through which ships can meet lower sulphur emission standards..

As part of the effective implementation of IMO2020 0.50% Sulphur Cap, South African Maritime and Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced that South Africa has approved the use of all types of approved scrubbers..

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