Do you know how many ships make up the world’s merchant fleet (sounds grand, doesn’t it)? No less than 100,000 boats that consume 250 million tonnes of fuel every year. Just one bulker can use 40 metric tonnes of fuel a day (that’s an annual consumption of roughly 10,400 tonnes). In terms of emissions, that’s a lot of CO2… 32,988 tonnes. And that’s all from just one ship.
If we look at the big picture, from an international level, 90% of the world’s trade is carried out on sea. As a result, the shipping industry uses 140 million tonnes of oil a year. From the entire globe’s emissions, ships account for between 4% and 5% of Earth’s CO2, generated by human activity. And an even more dismal fact is that shipping is a major source of air pollution – largely around coastal ports but elsewhere too.
In light of these statistics there’s a huge opportunity for the shipping industry to clean up its act and make the maritime industry more sustainable for the future. As a sector, ship owners and shipyards can make a meaningful impact on our fossil fuel reliance and our eco system.
As a goal, we’d like to see solar and wind power used on-board ships of all shapes and sizes. Not only will this help cut energy costs, at a time where fossil fuels are becoming increasingly scarcer, but it will help the health of people globally, by not contributing to air pollution through opting for green energy.
Long, oceanic trips can be made more feasible with efficiency improvements. But can there be a cleaner future for ships?
A Greener Horizon
With the population set only to grow and living standards improving globally, we’ll be increasingly relying on freight ships to provide goods. By 2040, the carbon emissions generated by the shipping industry could easily double. Of course, this would be catastrophic for the environment. The onus is on us to internationally reduce our carbon footprint, if we’re going to avoid severe global warming.
There have been claims that by 2013, a super eco container ship could be sailing the high seas by 2013. This would achieve savings of approximately 69%. And as time goes by, more and more shipbuilders are releasing amazing new eco ships to meet demand. Samsung Heavy Industries hopes to deliver eco ships that emit 30% less greenhouse gases, DMSE is aiming for a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions, and Mitsubishi is working on a large ship that will attain 35% reductions.
Even the smallest increase in energy efficiency is attractive to those that pour millions of pounds of fuel into their vessel. Marine and offshore buyers can even get help through Shipserv to find the right eco maritime supplier for them, which will help cut costs further.
Customers are beginning to expect a degree of sustainability and responsibility from ship yards, so there’s that too! If brokers don’t start listening to the demands of the public, they could start feeling the heat (and it won’t just be from global warming).