air freight

Record Cargo performance for Heathrow in April

London-Heathrow airport cargo volumes enjoyed their 21st consecutive record month in April 2018, as trade growth at the UK’s largest port by value increased by 2.3% year on year to 141,215 tonnes compared to the same time last year.

The US (+4.1%), India (+7.1%) and China (+10.9%)  were among the fastest growing countries for cargo in April.

For the January to April 2018 period, Heathrow handled 557,950 tonnes, 3.8% increase, while in the running 12 months from May 2017 to April 2018, the hub handled just over 1.7m tonnes, an 8.8% rise.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We’re seeing more passengers and trade flow through Heathrow than ever before. A third runway is a tremendous opportunity to grab a greater share of this global growth for Britain and we’re counting on our politicians to seize it with a ‘yes’ vote on Heathrow expansion this summer.”

Source: Air Cargo News / Heathrow Media Centre

China flag

China to ban the recycling of international ships

China plans to stop allowing the recycling of international ships at its yards as of the beginning of 2019.

The decision comes on the back of China’s efforts to crack down on polluter and waste producing industries in the country, which have seen many yards denied their ship recycling licenses.

The Chinese-flagged ships will be allowed to continue to be dismantled at Chinese yards, however, the Government of China will no longer provide subsidies for the branch, as decided last year. Due to such a turn in policy, local owners are likely to look elsewhere to retire their ships, including India.

“In view of this, owners will have to succumb to the fact that, with the exception of Turkey, the H.K Convention approved recycling yards in Alang will have to be taken more seriously following the incredible improvements that have been made at these yards over many years and the fact that these yards now can only offer owners the only alternative at this current time for green recycling,” Clarksons Platou Shipbroking said.

Two years ago, industry leader Maersk committed to investing in Alang yards and boosting their operational standards to comply with the company’s requirements.

Chief Executive Officer of  A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S, Søren Skou, said recently that some yards in Alang, India, are performing at the same level or better than yards in China and Turkey, “which used to be the only options for economically viable and responsible ship recycling. “

Explaining its approach, Maersk said that the company helps the yards to upgrade their practices while contractually requiring full implementation of its standards controlled by on-site supervision throughout the process as well as quarterly audits by third parties.

Even though the situation is far from perfect, especially when it comes to health hazards at the shipbreaking yards in Alang, Maersk believes that helping the yards to improve their standards is an opportunity to change the industry for the better.

However, for a more sustainable progress to be made more shipowners need to become involved.

From a total of 206 ships, which were broken in the first quarter of 2018, 152 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for breaking, according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Despite a considerable improvement made by some shipbreakers, a great majority of south Asian yards are notorious for their poor environmental and healthy and safety practices.

It is quite common for workers to suffer serious injuries or even get killed due to exposure to various types of risks ranging from falling objects to intoxication.

So far this year, 10 workers have lost their lives and 2 workers have been severely injured when breaking ships in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Another two workers were reported dead after an accident at a shipbreaking yard in Alang, India, data from NGO Shipbreaking Platform shows.

Source: World Maritime News

air pollution

Ports and Shipping need to curb air pollution

RealWire, an online media presence, has this week issued a press release related to using proven existing technology to curb UK Shipping and Port Industry air pollution.

According to RealWire, providing renewable electricity to ships whilst in port in the UK could reduce the equivalent of 1.2 million diesel cars worth of nitrogen oxides pollution and bring £402 million per year of health and environmental benefits.

By plugging into the power grid with 100 per cent renewable electricity and turning off their diesel engines, ships at berth in the UK would reduce emissions equivalent to 84,000 to 166,000 diesel buses – or 1.2 million diesel cars representative of the current UK fleet.

The pressure is mounting for the UK to align with EU air pollution emission targets, and ships at berth need to cut their fuel consumption and port authorities and terminal operators need to integrate shore power capabilities in a simpler and more efficient way.

Schneider Electric supports decarbonisation through its business efforts, this has led to a sponsored study into the emissions from idling ships at berth in UK ports that affects the quality of the air we breathe. Often neglected as source of air pollution, ships spewing toxic emissions near to coastal towns and cities puts people and the environment at risk.

While road transport pollution garners public prominence because it is so visible in our everyday lives, we should not underestimate the impact that portside emissions have on the environment and the cost of keeping society healthy. Offshore supply vessels, fishing boats, roll-on-roll-off, bulk carriers and passenger ferries contribute the most to the emissions from auxiliary engines at berth. The emissions from all vessels’ auxiliary engines at berth in UK ports in 2016 is estimated to be equivalent to nearly 2.6 per cent of the total transport sector emissions of nitrogen oxides in the UK. The best estimates of these emissions from auxiliary engines are 830,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 11,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 270 tonnes in particulate matter and 520 tonnes of sulphur dioxide.

There were approximately 110,000 buses and coaches in the UK fleet in 2016 and the study has found that ships’ auxiliary engines at berth are equivalent to the nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions equivalent to 84,000 to 166,000 buses and coaches representative of those currently in the UK fleet, respectively.

Dirty air has been linked to asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer. It has been linked to dementia and is also known to increase the risk of children growing up with smaller lungs. Meanwhile, 59 per cent of the UK pollution – 40 million people – live in areas where diesel pollution threatens their health, according to Friends of the Earth. Global deaths linked to ambient air pollution are estimated to have increased by just under 20 per cent since 1990, while 95 per cent of the world’s population is now breathing toxic air, according to a recent study by the 

Health Effects Institute while the Royal College of Physicians has found that air pollution in the UK contributes to 40,000 deaths per year. The UK could bypass a major health hazard as well as avoid health and environmental impacts of up to £402 million per year through the elimination of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates – using the introduction of shore connections at UK ports. If all the emissions from the auxiliary engines at berth from these vessels were reduced to zero by replacement with power from 100 per cent renewable electricity sources, the value in reducing emissions would be between £136 million and £483 million per year.

“The UK is one of the last global regions to introduce shore connections at its ports and it will take industry collaboration and innovation to bring forward the introduction of portside electricity in a quick and sustainable manner. There is now a global standard for shore connections and it is up to our ports now to catch up with the global norm and demonstrate that we truly believe in a cleaner, healthier future,” says Peter Selway, Marine Segment Marketing Manager at Schneider Electric.

While health conscious countries like the UK are employing proactive policies to help curb the dangerous impacts of air pollution and the ongoing efforts to alleviate roadside toxic fumes is indeed noble, the long-term impact of the shipping industry should not be ignored.

Globally, the partnership between the Port of Seattle and the shipping industry has seen annual CO2 emissions being cut by up to 29 per cent annually in the port, with financial savings of up to 26 per cent per port call. Meanwhile, shore connection capabilities have been mandatory for all ships at berth in California since 2010 and by 2020, at least 80 per cent of berths have to be equipped with shore connection technology.

The shipping industry itself has been receptive to plugging in at port and Schneider Electric’s technology has assisted La Meridionale to achieve a 95 per cent reduction in its berthside emissions. Danish ferry group Scandlines, meanwhile, has seen an overall energy saving of between 10-14 per cent in its equipped vessels.

“It is time now to adopt a new way of thinking and embrace, as an industry, the benefits that shore connections and portside electricity can bring quickly and cost-effectively. We are fortunate enough to have the technology at hand and we must put it to good use,” Selway concludes.