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Climate Change

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Climate change is the greatest threat posed to our society, and therefore the shipping industry is determined to do its fair share and support urgent action necessary to transition to decarbonisation.

Shipping is the servant of global trade – which itself is arguably the greatest force for good ever created. 95% of trade in the UK is moved by sea and we are the most efficient transport mode. Shipping emits 2,1% of global GHG emissions (IMO 2014 Study) and is at least 9 times more carbon efficient than road transport and at least 50 times more efficient than aviation (Clarksons Research, 2019).  

                  Comparison of typical  CO2 emissions between modes of transport ( Grams per tonne-km) 

Chart13Source: International Chamber of Shipping (based on IMO GHG Study 2009)

Over the last 10 years, the industry has made great strives by reducing its emissions by 10%, while facilitating a 30% increase of global trade. This is done through optimisation of our operations and investment in technology and alternative fuels. Such examples include voyage optimisation, hybrid ferries, batteries, and LNG powered vessels which in addition to the health benefits (zero SOx, virtually zero particulate matter and 90% less NOx emissions) it also emits up to 21% less CO2.

But the industry is striving to go much further. The shipping industry has agreed through the IMO to improve its efficiency by at least 40% compared to 2008 by 2030 and reduce its absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050. The latest requires all ships trading globally to improve their efficiency by at least 85% (Lloyds Register, 2018) which can only be achieved with zero-carbon fuels and technology. The industry also supports the UK Government’s commitments on the Clean Maritime Plan and is working in close collaboration with the Government to move the UK shipping to a zero-emission future.

 Chart edit 1Source: Lloyds Register, 2018

To achieve that there is much work still to do and to meet these objectives we need the support of the Government in sustainable investment to:

  • Support research and development of zero-carbon fuels and innovative technologies to further enhance the energy efficiency of ships;
  • Create initiatives to support access to finance;
  • Develop measures to encourage investment in port infrastructure to support the supply of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels and shore power supply from renewable sources.

But above all, there is a need for collaboration to a degree not seen before and, separately, the strong leadership is already shown by the shipping community, and the close partnership and dialogue between the government and the private sector to ensure we promote trade growth in a sustainable manner.