Κυριακή , 16 Ιούνιος 2024
Home ΝΑΥΤΙΛΙΑ Sea-Born Trade: A Model for Environmental Stewardship?
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Sea-Born Trade: A Model for Environmental Stewardship?

Thomas Pagonis

Head at Copa Chartering DMCC | Safe Working Experience, Freight Trading

Άρθρο  του Θωμά  Παγώνη

Handling approximately 95% of the world’s trade volume, sea-born trade has emerged as a pioneering force in sustainable practices.

Over the past 30 years, the maritime industry has achieved remarkable progress in reducing emissions, setting a gold standard for environmental stewardship.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) implemented a series of measures, sometimes “experimental” and “debatable,  to reduce the environmental impact of transporting goods by sea. It is a fact that the regulations were designed regardless of the cost.

Key regulations include:

•        MARPOL Annex VI: This regulation limits the air pollutants in ships’ exhaust gas, including sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

•        Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI): Mandates energy efficiency improvements in new ships.

•        Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI): Focuses on enhancing the efficiency of existing ships.

•        Ballast Water Management Convention: Reduces the transfer of invasive aquatic species.

•        Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (Scrubbers): These systems remove sulfur from ship exhaust gases, enabling compliance with IMO sulfur caps.

Additionally, the shipping world embraced new technologies.

•        Alternative Fuels: Adopting liquefied natural gas (LNG) has significantly cut SO2, NOx, and CO2 emissions. Looking ahead, hydrogen and ammonia are promising alternatives that could further reduce emissions.

•        Energy Efficiency Technologies: Implementing air lubrication systems, advanced hull designs, and energy-efficient engines has improved fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result, the strict and highly “expensive” IMO regulations, together with the dedication and resilience of shipowners to embrace new technologies, led to results beyond expectation.

Let’s allow the numbers to speak:

•        Maritime Transport: 0-60 grams CO2/ton-kilometer

•        Rail Transport: 20-120 grams CO2/ton-kilometer

•        Road Transport: 80-180 grams CO2/ton-kilometre

•        Air Transport: The highest emissions among all modes

Over the past three decades, the industry has reduced SOx emissions by over 80%, NOx emissions by around 40%, and CO2 emissions per ton-mile by approximately 30%.

Imagine if similar frameworks were imposed on all industries, including heavy-polluting factories. For example, if aluminium factories were forced to adopt regulations similar to EEDI and EEXI, wouldn’t we witness a significant reduction in CO2 emissions?

This question demands answers and action:

What would our environment look like if road, air transportation, and heavily polluting land industries adopted IMO-like regulations and embraced new technologies?

What worries me is that we already know the answer. Shipping was forced to follow strict, expensive, and sometimes debatable regulations because it belongs to the private sector, where cost considerations are often secondary to regulatory compliance.”

Unlike shipping, which is regulated by an international organization like the IMO, factories and other transportation modes are primarily regulated, controlled, or even owned by governments. National air carriers and factories are significant sources of income for governments worldwide, leading to a prioritization of cost over environmental concerns.

Unfortunately, this reality hampers broader environmental progress.

Still, I remain optimistic thanks to technological innovations and the resilience of some private sectors.

The potential for a cleaner, healthier future is within reach, but it requires sacrifices, collective effort, and commitment from all private, public, and governmental sectors.

Thomas J. Pagonis

#MaritimeTransport #Sustainability #GlobalTrade #EmissionsReduction #GreenShipping

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