air pollution

Vessel emissions won’t be cut by sailing slower

Policy director of the UK Chamber of Shipping Anna Ziou has slammed French proposals to impose speed limits as a way to cut shipping emissions.

She claims it would give a “false impression” of the industry taking action. 

Ms Ziou’s objection follows an outcry from container lines following the French IMO delegation’s proposals becoming public last month. 

“To achieve a 50% cut in emissions, the shipping industry needs continued investment in green technologies that will allow ships to conduct their business through a range of low-carbon fuels, such as battery power, hydrogen fuel cells or even wind power,” said Ms Ziou. 

“Shipowners have already limited speeds considerably in the past decade and while these proposals are well-intentioned, slow-steaming as a low-carbon [plan] is just not good enough. 

“It will give a false impression that the industry is taking action, when in reality it will deliver no meaningful reduction in emissions, and the scale of ambition required for the industry to meet the 50% target should not be underestimated.” 

Ms Ziou noted that if selected, the plan could penalise companies developing and installing low-carbon technologies and could discourage “meaningful” attempts at cutting emissions. 

At best, she claimed, speed limits would delay any form of transition to low-carbon fuels and in so doing would store up greater costs for the industry. 

She added: “Speed reduction could result in supply chains using alternative modes of transport, such as road haulage, which would increase overall emissions. 

“In addition, ships may call at certain ports that are tidally constrained where a delay of just one hour could result in a knock-on delay of 12 hours to the vessel as it awaits the next tide, unnecessarily creating further emissions during the additional waiting time.” 

Despite the objections, it seems there is mounting support for the introduction of speed limits after chief executives from more than 100 shipping companies described climate change as “possibly the greatest challenge of our time” in a recent open letter to IMO member states. 

Source: The Loadstar