Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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6 ways in which shipping industry is trying to achieve environmental sustainability


We as humans have been abusing our planet in various ways both personally and through industries. We all know that, if it is not sustainable, any form of industry does its own damage to the environment. The shipping and logistics industry isn’t far behind. 

With an estimated 90% of what we consume being transported by sea, we can get a fair estimate of the environmental damage the industry doing. According to the 3rd International Maritime Organisation (IMO) study on greenhouse gas (GHG) global shipping fleet accounts for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions and about 90% of global merchandise traffic.

Speaking in terms of real numbers it’s 400 million tons of fuel per year accounting for 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually. In such a case even saving 5-10% will reduce about 40-100 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHG). One of the biggest carbon footprints is through shipping which emits about 10 to 40 grams of CO2 per kilometer of its course!!!

So now we have a fair idea of the damage done….what is the shipping industry doing to combat this? Let’s take a look.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has come out with a ‘Greenhouse Gas Strategy’. The strategy envisages a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050. The strategy also aims to reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared with 2008.

So that’s the aim….now how do we achieve this?

1) Ship to Shore data feed technology to achieve sustainability

Ship to Shore data feed is cloud-based software technology that enables key operational decisions to be made in real-time and they can be applied to existing fleets with the opportunity of real gains in inefficiency. Director Steve Bee of Veritas Petroleum Services group commercial and new business development said: “Using this technology, in some cases, a reduction of CO2 up to 20% on a single vessel has been seen.”

2) Exhaust emission technology 

This technology basically focuses on the capture and treatment of exhaust emissions and tends to focus on specific air pollutant emissions such as sulphur which are one of the most poisonous gases to be emitted. The technology basically aims at the conversion of highly poisonous gases into non-poisonous ones.

3) Usage of Alternative fuels to enable sustainability

The shipping industry is actively exploring liquid natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and even the use of solar panels so as to reduce their environmental impact and take up more environmentally friendly measures to operate things.

4) Fuel Optimization System

This is a system used by many shipping fleets. FOS uses modern artificial intelligence technologies, by processing big data from various sensors on the ship it offers the best routes and recommendations for speed, maneuvering, etc. This solution reduces GHG emissions into the atmosphere. The AI advises the vessel operators in real-time of the current emission values and hence continuous monitoring of the values is possible, it also suggests ways to bring down these values.

5) Satellite data usage

A UK company, Smart Green Shipping (SGS) has developed a wind-assist power solution based on America’s Cup wing sails to combat the GHG effect. Using Smart vertical aerofoils that are paired with a sophisticated analysis system that can accurately calculate the available wind speed, across any trade route. It aims to reduce fuel consumption by at least a fifth initially and build on that as the technology progresses. They are claiming a 50% reduction in the co2 emission using this technology.

and finally,

6) Attitude transformation towards environmental sustainability

This basically is another way in which shipping can work towards reducing its environmental impact if they have an attitude or behavioral change towards certain dogmatic measures that have been blindly followed from time immemorial. For example, slow steaming as the name indicates is operating especially on container ships, at a significantly reduced maximum speed – is one of the most reliable methods to save money and fuel.


While we can say that the shipping industry is doing its best to control and combat the massive carbon footprints it is causing, there is still a lot of ground to cover including marine pollution, and acoustic and solid waste pollutants caused by shipping, not to mention the damages due to maritime disasters.


If someone has to do something it’s EACH AND EVERYONE OF US and it’s never too late!!!


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