Shipping NGOs Call for More Transparency

by | Oct 14, 2014

Cargo shipTransport & Environment, Seas at Risk and the Carbon War Room are urging the International Maritime Organization to be transparent regarding data on ship efficiency and fuel consumption.

According to the NGOs, the IMO’s environment committee plans to restrict access to the energy efficiency design index data on newly built ships, which may negatively impact efforts to reduce emissions.

In their submission to the IMO’s environment committee, Transport & Environment and Seas at Risk, both members of the Clean Shipping Coalition, cited a study from the University of Gothenburg, which states that social and market pressure as a result of information disclosure can generate pollution control incentives in a way that traditional enforcement tools may not.

According to the NGOs, some ship owners and operators claim that efficiency performance data is commercially sensitive and should remain confidential. However, the NGOs cite the positive results that have come as a result of transparency in the European car industry and the US aviation industry.

In addition, the NGOs note the current situation, where some entities are able to pay for access to data distorts competition and divides the market between data “haves” and “have nots.”

The NGOs also note the increasing use of independent efficiency indices such as the Clean Shipping Index and the A-G efficiency rating from RightShip and Carbon War Room. Use of the A-G rating has been introduced as a policy by nearly 30 percent of shipping’s noncontainerized charter market, and the number of sea ports using ship evaluation systems will go from two to 10 in the next year, according to Virgin Group founder and Carbon War Room co-founder Richard Branson.

The NGOs are asking the IMO to recognize that a single source of official and certified data from the industry regulator would offer a more reliable and universal metric and one that would drive competition to increase efficiency across the industry.

Photo Credit: Cargo ship via Shutterstock 

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