Time period: 2014-2018

Members involved: AkzoNobel, Bunge, Cargill, Lloyd’s Register, IMC, Maersk, RightShip, Wärstilä, WWF

Partners: University College London (UCL), University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS)

Ocean transportation is currently the most environmentally sound mode of transportation in terms of CO2 emissions per tonne of cargo transported. Despite this, shipping is responsible for 2.6% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which is broadly equivalent to the emissions of Germany.

The IMO’s third Greenhouse Gas (GHG) study (2012) predicted that CO2 emissions from shipping could increase by as much as 50-250% by 2050, based on a business as usual scenario. This could result in shipping emissions growing to as much as 17% of total global emissions.

If the targets set by the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Agreement are to be achieved, then shipping must reduce levels of emissions by as much as 80% below 2012 baselines. This represents a major challenge and requires a move away from fossil fuels as the primary fuel source and the widespread adoption of alternative fuels and clean technology.

Our Vision is of a shipping industry that is changing to a diverse range of energy sources, using resources more efficiently and responsibly, and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas intensity.

The shipping industry and the IMO urgently need to be proactive in creating a framework of regulation, and plan for tangible GHG reduction targets, otherwise the industry risks facing unilateral and regionalized measures, unsuitable for an international shipping industry.

The SSI has become a leading voice within the industry concerning carbon reduction, and in the run up to, and in the wake of, MEPC 69 and 70 (2016) the SSI has promoted a strong case in favour of change and action within the shipping industry.

Specifically, the SSI has been calling upon the International Maritime Organization to develop a framework that would lead to the implementation of carbon reduction targets for the shipping industry, and therefore welcomed the announcement by the IMO in October 2016 of the plan to develop an IMO roadmap for CO2 emission controls for the shipping industry.

SSI members have demonstrated to the wider industry that there are already many innovative ways to reduce CO2 emissions as well as to make financial savings. SSI members have shown leadership by sharing these practices through case studies developed by SSI in 2013 and available to download. For example, AkzoNobel’s marine coatings business, International®, which has developed the first carbon credits methodology for international shipping, recognising and financially rewarding ship-owners for investing in clean technology.

In 2015, the SSI supported its position on low carbon by commissioning academics at University College London (UCL) to conduct research examining the CO2 reductions required to limit global emissions such that global warming stays within the UNFCCC below 2 degrees target. The study demonstrated that a disconnect exists between present day stakeholder attitudes, and the challenge faced by the industry. Even in the most moderate scenario, carbon intensity reduction beyond what would be considered ‘commercially viable’ by our members was shown to be required.

In 2017, the SSI commissioned Lloyd’s Register and University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) to undertake a study examining the viability of zero emission vessels entering the trans-oceanic fleets from 2030, and the key drivers that would be required in order to achieve this outcome. The study shows that advanced biofuels may represent the most economically feasible zero-emission alternative for the shipping industry but face two key issues: sustainability and availability.

The findings of the 2018 study by Lloyd’s Register and UMAS led to the development of a decarbonisation working group with the goal of conducting further work around the sustainability and availability of biofuels.