Green shipping is becoming more and more important. Vessels are no longer just a means to transport goods & people on the water, but they’re also a potential instrument to keep our environment clean. Maritime professionals are looking for ways to make it a reality by implementing various schemes & programmes, creating innovative technologies and trying out alternatives for propulsion. So what can we expect from the green shipping industry in the years to come?
The new IMO regulation that many expect will be a pivotal moment in the industry will come into force on 1 January 2020. It will lower the limit on sulphur in marine fuel from the current 3.5% to just 0.5%. It is expected to lessen the harmful emissions from ships and move the industry towards green shipping.
There has been some reluctance to take up this challenge due to uncertainties and large investments required to comply with the new rules. To encourage shippers to make the green shipping transition sooner rather than later, Port of Rotterdam has dedicated EUR 5 million to fund projects that reduce CO2 emissions by over 50%. The Incentive Scheme Climate-Friendly Shipping will run until 2022 with shipping companies, fuel & engine manufacturers and suppliers and shipping service providers operating out of the Port of Rotterdam eligible to submit their projects.
The initiative includes support for renewable and low-carbon fuels, but those require broad infrastructure. While LNG infrastructure is being rapidly developed and LNG-powered ships are coming on the market, it might not be enough to comply with the new rules in time. That’s why some shippers are opting for scrubbers that remove pollutants from the exhaust gases of heavy fuel oil ships. According to Bloomberg NEF, around 4,800 vessels will be equipped with scrubbers by 2025.
Alternatively, other resources are also considered for propulsion. Wind power is in the running as an option with innovative rotor sails in development. Another choice is electricity as a way to ensure zero-emissions from ships. For example, Norway plans to have two-thirds of all ferries along its Atlantic coast to be electrified by 2030.
However, two-thirds seem a drop in the ocean, when environmental protection is at stake. In Sweden, the goal is to become 100% fossil fuel-free by 2045. It echoes Maersk’s pledge to have a fleet with net zero-emissions, but the world’s largest container shipping company aims for 2050, making Sweden ahead of the game if they succeed.
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