Combatting Shipping Emissions

The future is green

There’s no doubt about how integral the shipping industry is to modern society, anytime anybody needs to have anything anywhere, shipping will inevitably be a part of that process at some stage. However, the carbon footprint associated with this is a global issue. Many countries are setting targets to tackle this with industry leaders understanding that green shipping is the way of the future – as a result, organisations are working towards this goal.

CO2 and sulphur emissions

Across the shipping sector, CO2 emissions are produced whether it be through air, sea or road. Mercifully, ocean shipping is greener than airfreight, however there’s the additional concern of the need to reduce sulphur emissions; another harmful greenhouse gas. To address these issues, there has been increasing developments in technology to continue the same level of services but tackle the problem at hand across the shipping industry.

Use of biofuel

Maersk partnered with handful of large Dutch owned businesses in March 2019 to trial utilising biofuel as an alternative energy source to power one of their large ships. The vessel would sail 25,000 nautical miles total, and the energy savings of the journey “equates to the annual CO2 emitted by over 200 households in a year or 12m km travelled in an average car which is 300 times around the world.” Their aim is to reach a zero CO2 emissions target by 2050.


Not to be left behind, other businesses have also attempted to spin an eco-friendly approach into company profits. Okeanis have introduced a fleet of Eco Ships fitted with high quality ‘scrubbers’. This is an air pollution control system with the focus on reducing harmful toxic emissions or, in their words “a desire to capture the full benefit of lower fuel oil costs afforded to us by our eco, scrubber-equipped fleet.”

Sulphur cap and retrofits

Hyundai Heavy Industries also announced in March 2019 that it would create its own ship business, ‘Hyundai Global Services’, to introduce a line of ships to comply with IMO’s 2020 Sulphur cap in addition to “retrofitting Ballast Water Treatment Systems at its Busan headquarters.” Perhaps these are the ships of the future…

Attractive services

Despite the mammoth task of trying to keep the ocean clean, it’s encouraging to see some companies have listened to the facts and are trying to take a step in the right direction. By taking the plunge of minimising the use of natural resources and instead investing in renewable energy sources, the resulting greater longevity and sustainability makes greener businesses more attractive to those that wish to use the services, without it having such a detrimental impact on the environment.

Sir David Attenborough recently stated:

“It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”

The shipping industry contributes massively to this, but if we can continue to increase our efforts to curtail the harm that we cause and invest our resources in utilising innovative and greener technology across the shipping, logistics and supply chain sectors, perhaps this grim outlook may not necessarily become a reality.

Written by Mourelle Josiah-Wong – Team Assistant at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions.

Posted in categories: Cargo, Environment, Imports, Shipping