There are many conceptions – and misconceptions – about green shipping. How about getting things straight once and for all? It is time to dispel the myths and find out what green shipping is actually all about.
What is green shipping?
Green shipping refers to transporting goods with as little environmental impact as possible. This may involve using advanced technology to optimise ship design, operations and performance to improve energy and fuel efficiency, prevent pollution, and reduce emissions. The concept of green shipping may be implemented already in the design phase of a new vessel, through continuous improvements or by switching to zero-emission fuels.
The switching to zero-emission fuels is gradually proceeding as more alternative fuels and engines are entering the market. More shipbuilders are designing ships with green technology such as dual-fuel engines to accelerate the shift to clean fuels
Green shipping includes training and educating staff and crew members in marine environmental awareness involving environmental policies, global requirements and compliances, ship energy efficiency, safe bunkering, oil transfer procedures, pollution prevention, garbage handling and disposal, biofouling and ballast water management.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set the target to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050. The entire shipping industry needs to make a huge transition towards greener solutions, scaling up their investments in greener technology, engines, and fuels.
Debunking 3 myths about green shipping
Now, let us get into some of the most common myths about green shipping.
1. Business owners opt out of green shipping solutions
It is sometimes argued that, even though green shipping is good and all, most business owners choose to stick with what they already know – regular shipping solutions – rather than tapping into and investing in green shipping. This cannot be any further from the truth.
Sustainability, alongside digitalisation, has become a growth engine for future development across all industries. It represents a new paradigm for development on a societal, cultural, economic, and environmental level. The shipping industry is a major polluter of emissions and constantly has to adapt to new rules and regulations related to sustainability. But equally important, shipping companies have to meet the new customer demands.
More business owners now demand emissions data from potential shipping partners. They require transparency and no longer settle for a shipping partner that doesn’t have sustainability on top of their agenda. As sustainability has become an integrated part of many of today’s business owners’ strategies, they only accept suppliers sharing their values. This means that if shipping companies want to win contracts, they have to go green.
2. Green shipping is more expensive than regular options
This is a hot and widely discussed topic – yet another big misconception. Actually, smart and sustainable shipping solutions can help business owners increase their profit. New advanced technology that aims to make shipping more sustainable goes tightly hand in hand with increased efficiency. The more efficient the shipping is, the higher your profit margins will be.
By choosing a green shipping solution, you can reduce costs by the reduced time and mileage spent on your shipments for the same amount of deliveries. For example, vessels equipped with optimised vessel navigation and voyage planning allow for close monitoring of navigation progress and vessel position, preventing groundings, collisions and oil spills. This not only protects the environment but also brings major cost savings as delays are reduced.
There is also the weather routing technology to help select the best route to reduce weather’s negative effects on vessel navigation. In addition to reduced fuel consumption, it means improved transit times. This is critical for minimising costs, as longer transit times than expected can greatly impact average costs, inventory, ordering and shortage costs.
Speed optimisation is another important factor ultimately affecting your wallet. By monitoring vessel speed and fuel consumption, abnormal operations can be detected, and vessels can adjust the speed to match the current estimated time of arrival targets. Just-in-time arrival means – again – money saved.
With large shipping companies making strides in the green vessel race, you can be both environmentally conscious and profitable with the right shipping solution.
3. Green shipping doesn’t really make a big difference
Before diving into this one, here comes an update on the environmental status of our globe. The main driver of climate change is the greenhouse effect causing global warming. The largest contributor to global warming is CO2. By 2020, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere had risen to 48% above its pre-industrial level. In the past decade, the global average temperature “hit records”, reaching 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels.
An increase of 2°C is associated with serious negative impacts on the environment and human health. This includes a high risk of dangerous and possibly catastrophic changes in the global environment.
However, looking at the main contributors of CO2, shipping only accounts for about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. So, will switching to green shipping really make a big difference?
The answer is yes – it most certainly will. Given the current growth rates, researchers warn that shipping could well represent up to 10% of all global emissions by 2050. This is a scary number that will become a reality if we don’t act now.
Are you ready to choose green shipping?
The message is clear from both the EU and many member countries. We need to become more efficient, make a shift in technology and decarbonise the shipping industry to reach the goals of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. In the end, green shipping is all about improving the quality of life for our world citizens and safeguarding the future of our next generations. The only question is: Are you ready to choose it?