International Shipping Industry Leaders Call for a Maritime Energy Shift

by | Sep 21, 2017

Maritime shipping industry energy

Credit: Louis Vest, Flickr Creative Commons

A group of around 200 international shipping industry leaders plan to join forces at the UN Convention on Climate Change in Bonn this November. Their goal is to develop business-focused strategies that encourage quick decarbonization and substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“Many in the industry do not believe that sufficient action is being taken at a fast enough pace to meet the urgency of the challenge,” Hellenic Shipping News reported.

In 2015, shipping and aviation were left out of the Paris accord. Early drafts committed countries to limits and reductions in those sectors, but pressure from emerging economies led to their omission, the Telegraph reported at the time. The two industries combined account for 5% of global emissions, a figure estimated to jump to as much as 33% by 2050.

Now, regulatory action and calls from industry leaders for changes have brought the issue back to the surface. Uwe Lauber, CEO of the multinational marine company MAN Diesel and Turbo, called for a “maritime energy transition” this week. His company is a co-organizer of the industry summit in Bonn.

Called “Ambition 1.50C: Global Shipping’s Action Plan,” the dedicated COP23 summit will unite invited industry representatives with UNFCCC delegates onboard the nearly 280-foot RheinFantasie river vessel, according to Hellenic Shipping News. The summit is expected to produce a briefing document that summarizes industry challenges and opportunities, specifies agreed-upon approaches, and an action plan draft.

“Zero-emission vessels need to be entering the fleet in about 2030,” Lloyd’s Register environmental manager Katharine Palmer said publicly this week. “As a co-organizer of this [summit], we have the opportunity to highlight the potential and commercial attractiveness this offers and — by bringing together the key stakeholders of what is often a fragmented industry — the possibility to deliver a global action plan we can all commit to.”

Already, industry leaders are taking steps to address emissions at sea. The Dubai-based offshore support vessel company Topaz Energy and Marine just signed an agreement with Orange Business Services for a platform called Maritime Connect. The new platform promises to help Topaz route traffic and manage ships at sea. Dashboards for fleet management can detect vessels that deviate from the average standard for speed, maintenance issues, and fuel consumption, according to a press release about the agreement.

Also this week, MAN Diesel and Turbo recently announced that the Wes Amelie box ship had been converted to liquefied natural gas propulsion, a world first. The conversion didn’t require installing a whole new engine, and could have a multiplier effect with similar vessels starting with the Wes Amelie’s 23 sister ships.

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