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Can we be honest about the damage we are all doing?

Can we be honest about the damage we are all doing?

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Amongst this week’s contributions to the gaiety of nations we may include the attempt by our industry’s lobbying bodies to tell the world that they do not do what we pay them to do – to influence national and international policy in favour of people who own and operate merchant ships.

There will be a good deal of mockery of the InfluenceMap report – do take a moment to look at it – because it was put together by outsiders, and it contains errors. So what? It is basically right, and we all know that it is. The IMO was captured by the shipowning interest as soon as the IMCO admitted the FOCs.

Sorry, BIMCO, sorry, ICS, sorry, national and regional shipowners’ organisations, but, if you are not influencing the IMO and others, there is no point in paying you, and we can all save a few bucks. What we want you to do is to influence the IMO in a less brain dead way.

The IMO in its infinite wisdom does not permit journalists anywhere near its key deliberations.

Sorry, IMO; I’ve been an observer at an IMO session, and I saw what went on. In my case, I was the observer on behalf of the International Group of P&I Clubs at a session on solid bulk cargoes, more than 30 years ago, and I saw a carefully drafted, science-based, regulation, which would have improved safety and been simple to enforce, turned into a pile of scientifically unsound but ‘commercially helpful’ garbage by, in that case, the Australian mining industry, who were pretending to be the Australian government.

I have no reason to think that any other sessions, or any other governments, are different. Bismarck’s remark about making sausages comes to mind.

Let’s be practical. We are in this business to make money.

How can we make lots of it, whilst at the same time keeping this planet’s delicate oceans and atmosphere intact? Planets don’t come with lifeboats.

Most of us will have seen the reports of the study, published last month by the University of Washington at Seattle, into the frequency of lightning strikes at sea and their much higher incidence over heavily used shipping lanes. In case you missed it, lightning strikes are twice as common over the two busiest shipping lanes in the world, those leading towards and away from the Straits of Malacca, as they are elsewhere, and this is because of the greater number of particulates in the atmosphere over those shipping lanes, which affects cloud formation.

That is direct evidence that our ships are interfering with the climate.

Remember, if you have been in shippng for 30 years, that the world fleet is now four times as large as it was when you started.

Our oceans are a mass of churned up fragments of plastic, leopard seals are eating krill because there are no penguins, reefs are blanching, life in the seas is dying, and all our representatives can do is to offer up the prayer of the young Saint Augustine – “O Lord, make me virtuous, but not yet!”

It doesn’t really do, does it? When we are offered such validations of Disraeli* as, “Shipping moves 90% of goods at the cost of 3% of emissions”, which is a running together of numbers from different places – the valid comparison would be with transport emissions, not total emissions – we can feel nothing but contempt and disgust at the prostitutes employed by our racket to try to put one over on the general public.

The IMO does not have the power to influence public opinion, all it can do is to slow down, or speed up, regulatory charge.

Regulation of emissions exists, in a very feeble form; real regulation of emissions is unavoidable; all we can do is to choose to promote it or to try to delay it.

We all know that if we try to regulate emissions by measuring fuel consumption, and so on, people in our business are going to cheat. It’s what people in our business do. The only way to keep ourselves honest is to ban the infernal combination engine altogether, along with the external kind, and to adopt zero emissions.

Before you throw your hands up in horror, take a moment to think about this.

The best way to make loads of money whilst stimulating economic development is the same as it always has been – to ride the wave of a truly disruptive technology. Containers, diesel engines, welding, steel, refrigeration, wireless, the telegraph cable, compound expansion steam, carvel planking, the astrolabe and the mariner’s compass – these have been the great disruptors, and the biggest of them involved propulsion.

We want to make money, and to lead long, comfortable, lives.

These are the only facts that matter.

I hope we all agree?

Because if we do, we must also agree that the only sensible proposal before the IMO is the one coming from the Pacific islands – including the Marshall Islands – calling for zero emissions by 2035.

That would give us 17 years to scrap every ship on the planet and replace them with ships that do not consume hydrocarbons and emit greenhouse gases when in operation.

That’s a real disruption, unlike unmanned ships and suchlike, which are chicken feed.

Seventeen years is long enough to pay down and scrap all existing ships and replace them with something else.

Let’s take a blank sheet of paper and think about that. The playing field is now quite level.

The available means of ship propulsion without emissions are nuclear, solar and wind.

We can put ‘solar’ in a little box and almost ignore it until energy storage improves, because we don’t want to go lugging main propulsion batteries around, using up deadweight, but we only ‘almost’ ignore it, because we do want battery power to drive auxiliaries.

Nuclear power is well proven, and it’s perfectly possible to fit package reactors which can run for a ship’s lifetime without refuelling. Submarines have them now, but nuclear reactors are very expensive and time consuming to build, so only a few ships are going to be nuclear.

Everything else is going to get there under some form of wind power, at sailing ship speeds. You can see why this is such an exciting prospect – if demand in ton miles is about as price sensitive as it always has been, and the supply of tonnage is going to be moving at three to four knots, not ten to fourteen knots, and the cargo is going to have to be stevedored in and out of hatches obstructed by sailing gear, taking much longer in port, we are going to see a freight boom that will make 2004-8 seem trivial.

I am not talking about the Romance of Sail; I am talking about making serious money in proper shipowning.

Henry Ford said that if he had asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse”, and I’m perfectly sure that the shipowners of 1866 were fascinated by movements in the S&P market for wooden square riggers, as Alfred Holt set out to make them all irrelevant.

We all know this change is coming. We can lead it, get rich and be on the side of the angels or we can share the fate of the other rust belt industries. Simple.

* “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

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Andrew Craig-Bennett

Andrew Craig-Bennett works for a well known Asian shipowner. Previous employers include Wallem, China Navigation, Charles Taylor Consulting and Swire Pacific Offshore. Andrew was also a columnist for Lloyd's List for a decade.

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28 Comments

  1. Tristan Smith
    October 26, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Hallelujah

  2. Robert Gordon
    October 26, 2017 at 11:28 am

    The inconvenient truth and an excellent defence of the InfluenceMap report and its outing of the IMO as a ship owners’ and shippers’ old boys club. Air pollution is an important issue but so is ship and crew safety and the IMO are still playing silly buggers with these issues as well. It seems you were involved in the nickel ore and cargoes that liquefy stoush. BHP and Rio Tinto led the IMO down the garden path on this one. Nothing has changed and the IMO have just again refused to deal with the deadly problem of shippers who lie about moisture content and testing and then slide away when the capsized bulker body count comes in. May the FOC’s and their IMO buddies burn in hell.

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Dear Robert,

      Actually, it was coal, but your example is an even better one. In both cases the Australian Government, gutless in the face of the big miners, thought no further than their own exports.

      The Australian Government have quite a lot to answer for: time to stop “Ships of shame” and start “Shippers of shame”.

      And another nickel ore ship sank just a few days ago; nickel ore from Indonesia for China, crew were mustered but before anything further could be done, over she went, taking ten men with her.

      1. Peter Nuttall
        October 30, 2017 at 9:44 am

        Hi Andrew – nice article, lot of work ahead.

        For a Pacific perspective there are a couple of new articles posted on the Pacific Island Development Forum’s website on the need for Countries to take back control in the IMO and the amount of CO2 shipping Australia’s coal contributes

        1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
          October 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm

          Thank you Peter. I’m having a look at them now.

          It was a remark by a Tuvaluan friend, almost thirty years ago, “What a pity that my country won’t be around to see it” – that woke me up to the subject

  3. M.T. Vassel
    October 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve covered shipping for almost 25 years, and I’ve seen no sign that shipowners (read: the IMO) are enlightened enough to even improve shipping’s public image, let alone refleet in 17 years. It’s taken almost that long to get them to manage their ship’s ballast water. Nice thought, but fanciful at best.

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 26, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      Much truth in that!

      Alas!

  4. Mark Rawson
    October 26, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Another really good article and a good read.

    Here we go again though.. ship owners can lobby, just alike every other interest group, but they don’t get to vote at IMO.

    I have obviously been misled by those dastardly lobbyist when I thought the problem might be something to do with a huge difference of opinion between developing countries ( who want to develop) and devlop countries (that have caused loads of historical damage) and are now trying to close the proverbial stable door. These are the nation states that are members of the IMO and have to try to reconcile these big issues. These are the ones that debate and get to vote.

    If these guys think that the ICS and BIMCO have more influence at IMO than China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Russia, India etc. I think I would have to disagree?

    All good stuff, but blaming the delivery boy never got anyone very far?

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 26, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you, Mark.

      Spot on.

      Ando

    2. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 26, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Mark,

      We have the interesting case of the Aussies, who spend their time at the IMO claiming that they are just another third world nation, dependent on exports of primary raw materials…

      Cheers

      Andrew

  5. Daniel Kane
    October 26, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    I hope that articles like this, ‘speaking truth to power’ becomes more common.

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 26, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks Daniel,

      We can but try.

      So far as I can see, at the moment, the “industry response “ seems to be directed at what people think I wrote rather than what I actually wrote.

      But I really appreciate your comment.

      Andrew

  6. Lost for Words
    October 27, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I see… so lobbying, spreading misinformation, cherry picking from scientific reports, and generally acting in a nasty and deceitful way is only ok if environmental NGOs do it, but not the big bad shipping boys… alright, at least we have the rules of the game clear then.

    And you Andrew, you know how IMO works because you observed a session, wait for it, 30 years ago! I guess that makes you the expert on IMO then doesn’t it?

    It seems you been waiting some time then to clear your conscience on an industry that appears to have put food on your table – good for you.

    1. Micah Jordan
      October 27, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I’ll start by saying I found this article and thread on Facebook and have absolutely no in-depth understanding of IMO or the shipping world as a whole, but I think any relatively intelligent person can see a personal attack when they see one. In regards to “rules of the game”, I want to see the truth of anyone spreading misinformation, cherry picking scientific facts, or general nastiness, regardless of which side of the debate they stand. Those actions do nothing but breed mistrust and keep us from progressing the topic to a reasonable conclusion (much like personal attacks).
      Finally, under your logic, I must be present at a football game to know the current players, or be on set to know how a movie unfolds. It’s possible, especially considering the importance of IMO to Andrew’s livelihood, that he follows it closely without attending. According to imo.org, any texts from an IMO convention can be purchased or reviewed at national public libraries or libraries of maritime training institutes. So though it’s dangerous to assume Andrew does review them, perhaps asking instead of assuming he doesn’t would be more mature. If you don’t believe that he does, test him!
      Again, perhaps due to my lack of experience in the field, I’m mistaken. That doesn’t change the fact that hiding behind the veil of “anonymous user” and shooting darts at someone instead of asking questions is a disservice to us all.
      …and that’s all I have to say about that.

      1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
        October 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        Thank you.

        In fact, I am so badly informed about today’s IMO that my spies, who are quite numerous, tell me that Mr A. Nonnymouse is an IMO staff member.

    2. james
      October 27, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Your first argument is “but they lie too,” which is juvenile and unpersuasive. You don’t even cite examples of this deceit, we’re just supposed to take your word for it.

      Your second argument is “you don’t even know how the IMO works,” but you don’t explain how the author is incorrect, again expecting us to take your word for it.

      And then your last argument is “but you’ve benefited from how the industry has operated.” Guess what? We all benefit from shipping, whether we are working in the industry or merely using the goods it provides us. Did you know that American abolitionists in the mid-19th century benefited from slavery? Guess they should’ve just piped down and been thankful for all that free cotton, huh?

  7. Andrew Craig-Bennett
    October 27, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you.

    The argument that “We, the Guardians of the Sacred Flame, know best, and you Outer Barbarians should be properly grateful for the guidance that we, who are Admitted to the Mysteries, choose to impart to you” doesn’t work so well in the Internet Age… as you say, we all benefit from shipping.

    I am a relatively recent convert to the cause of the need for merchant shipping to make big strides in eliminating fossil fuels. Two things – the lightning strikes mentioned in the column, and the effects of flue gases on acidification, coupled with the seemingly inexorable growth in the total tonnage of ships in operation, redoubling every fifteen years, have changed my mind.

  8. Bjorn Hojgaard
    October 28, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Andrew, I am picking up our debate on LinkedIn here as I am finally able to respond on a computer and not a mobile phone and I always run out of space on LinkedIn.

    Maybe we are not that far apart.

    My thinking is that the real damage that shipping has caused to the environment/contributed to global warming has been in our enabling of globalisation. Affordable, efficient shipping – of energy and raw materials in one direction and of finished goods in the other direction – over the past 30 years has led, more than anything, to the rise of China and with China other emerging economies. 30 years ago, 90% of people in China were employed in agriculture, many living below the poverty line. Today, only 7% of China’s population is considered poor and the economy is one of the world’s largest. As the global wealth, through globalisation, has spread across the globe, the impact from man-made resource consumption, and in this particular case emission of CO2, has many-doubled and this is why we all must find ways to urgently cut back on the consumption of oil and coal.

    But take oil alone: Something like 2/3 of oil is used for transportation, and of this only a very small percentage is used by shipping. Surely it makes more sense to convert the large consumption of refined petroleum products in cars, trucks etc. to electric as that has already proven technically possible, and at the same time as quickly as possible convert shore-based power generation from coal to renewables aw well as nuclear. A course charted along this course would make a real difference, and fast, and looking at shipping in isolation misses the point that at this time we have no viable alternatives to the diesel engine, at least not unless we want to make shipping much less affordable, to the detriment of the benefits that shipping create through the creation of global commerce.

    I am hopeful that new technologies will replace the dirty fuel used today and that the diesel engine will fade only to be replaced with a zero or close to zero emissions technology and maybe some sort of wind power can be part of the solution, but thinking that sailing ships will be able to replace what we have today is gullible and will only lead to more friction in global trade, in turn denying the journey to prosperity for newer emerging economies. It is a pipe dream and in my humble opinion it is also immoral. And unfortunately electric is still not a solution for shipping, as you highlight, in the end of the day because current energy density in batteries is only about 1/100 of that of oil. Hydrogen may be a solution, as may biofuels, and in the meantime LNG may be a big step in the right direction. I don’t know, but I know that a lot of thoughts are going into this to find a solution.

    The west could go through the industrialisation and become wealthy, democratic societies only because the development included only 15% of the world’s population, or so, and if making shipping inefficient on the alter of global warming would prevent the poor population on this planet to enjoy the fruits of globalisation in my mind is simply immoral. We have to find other ways to curb and reverse the emission of green house gases than hold globalisation hostage.

    I think the world is on the brink of a meaningful breakthrough for solar and wind, and combined with a renewed push for nuclear – perhaps liquid fluoride thorium reactors, which do not have the same runaway meltdown risks as traditional uranium reactors – it is possible to see a future where at least global warming beyond today’s level may be prevented.

    Andrew, where I really took issue with your original write-up was not in the fact that shipping has an environmental foot print but in the allegations that shipping is against responsible solutions and that the organisations in shipping should be actively trying to absolve shipping for playing its part. I have also attended IMO sessions, and I have for the past 10 years worked in national shipping associations and with ICS, INTERTANKO, BIMCO etc. and I can assure you that there is a very sincere understanding of the challenges faced and a very sincere desire to be part of the solution – which has to come also from the industry, if we are to avoid killing globalisation in the attempt.

    Shipping is not for-profit only. It plays a bigger part in society, and saying that profits are at odds with a healthy planet is simply not true. It’s akin to saying that profitability and safety cannot go hand in hand, whereas the reality is that safety is good business and environmentally responsible shipping is also good business.

    The irony is that globalisation itself may eventually limit shipping. When we have a world where coal and oil is no longer necessary to heat the world, and where the current trend of near-shoring production and using automation/3D printing will lead to less arbitration of wage differential across the globe, then perhaps the need for shipping will be much less than currently projected – and with that shipping’s environmental foot print. But that’s a discussion for another time.

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks Bjorn,

      I agree – let’s carry on here, and encourage others to join in, too. But now I need to find time to sit down with a proper keyboard and screen – I’ll be back later!

      1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
        October 28, 2017 at 8:37 pm

        Bjorn,

        I agree that what we have come to call “Globalisation” has been largely driven by two things – electronic communications, in the broadest sense, ie including all developments in IT, and the reduction in shipping cost per ton mile.

        I have wasted a part of the day looking for a paper that I gave to the HK joint branch of the Nautical Institute and the Marine Engineers, in 1989, in which I proved to my own satisfaction, and, as I recall, to that of my audience, that whilst the British Royal Mail had just announced that the cost of sending an “inland letter” (we may now say “a snail mail”) had not risen, in real terms, in a hundred years, the freight on a ton of cargo from Shanghai to London had fallen by 99%, and the wages of a Master Mariner had fallen by 50%, in real terms in that time.

        Of course, the cost of postage has now dwindled to a tiny fraction of the cost in 1889 in real terms – but nobody foresaw that in 1989!

        We agree that ending poverty, on the scale that China and the “tigers” have done, is a wonderful thing. We have both seen the reports of Xi Jinping’s speech to the Chinese Party Congress, and the calculations that in the early 1980’s China’s GDP per head was US$220, today it is US$10,000, and in a few years China will overtake the USA in GDP per head. And we are both, I think, along withalmost all our friends and colleagues in the shipping industry, a little proud of our industry’s role in this.

        We also agree that almost all the increase in “GHG” is shore based and is the result of that wonderful economic growth. We also hope, as surely all decent people do, that the rest of the human beings on this planet can in turn be lifted from poverty into middle class comfort, and we expect that the flattening of wage differentials will have the effect of relatively diminishing ton mileage per dollar (or RMB!) of GDP growth and thereby diminishing the role of our industry in moving finished goods, although, as devout believers in David Ricardo’ s principle of comparative advantage, we expect to carry on moving raw materials and components as well as fuel and foodstuffs.

        We also agree that we, the shipping industry cannot sit on our hands and say “we are only respobsible for three per cent of global emissions” – we need to do something to reduce them, because our business is growing, in volume if not on profitability, so very fast. We agree that we need to reduce our emissions of GHG.

        Where we differ is in our views of the rate at which we need to move on this.

        To be honest, a year ago, I was, more or less, in agreement with the position that I think you have set out, above. I was happily telling Masters and Chief Engineers about the need to start recording fuel consumptions on voyages to and from Europe and I was taking a “don’t fight City Hall” approach to the IMO and to EMSA in relation to recording emissions data. That is to say, I was thinking, and saying to my colleagues afloat, “this is going to come, there is never any point in fighting regulation of shipping, as an earlier generation tried to, we must comply and see how we can do so as cheaply and as simply as possible.”

        I have changed my mind because I have become aware of three things –

        – the speed in which China is moving to zero emissions – and where China goes, there go we all – in onshore transportation and power generation.

        – The recorded impact on the oceans of acidification due to flue gases – socks and knocks but also carbon – and the terrifying impact on corals and on marine life generally, and the shocking data on lightning strikes, which tells us that we, the shipowning business, are changing cloud formation over the Convergence – which won’t please our friends in aviation.

        – the sheer scale of shipping in relation to the oceans, now, and the knowledge that this is only going to increase.

        I have told a couple of generations of shipping industry managers, at the Cambridge Academy of Transport, that whereas shipbuilding has political importance, thanks to employing lots of people in their “clusters” in more or less the same place, shipowning has absolutely no political influence. Ship owning is widely dispersed, and we don’t even pay taxes. That was the “devil’s bargain” of the FOCs – we are tax free, but nobody gives a damn about us.

        This means that we are likely to be seen as “the bad guys”, and in that respect we can thank the Port of Long Beach, who for decades have been renting out their warehouses – made redundant thanks to containerisation – to Hollywood, as film sets – the number of shoot outs in decaying port buildings and laid up ships is legion!

        Where I think we differ is in the rate of change. I now think – and this is where I feel that a public debate right here may be valuable – that we as an industry need to re-evaluate our position and to move very much faster towards zero emissions, and I also think, again with due respect to China (the only nation on the planet to be run almost entirely by engineers!) that China is showing us that we can make a very good return on investment by “going green”.

    2. Andrew Ulrich
      October 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Well said, but I implore you to think more about your immorality argument. This is no longer a debate about what will benefit individual countries and various socio-economic groups. If GHG emissions are not radically reduced more or less immediately, from every source, the planet will no longer support human life, and sooner than most of us think. Take a good look not just at human pollution, but at all the feedback loops that are now taking place, such as albedo changes, especially at the poles. The overall emissions are the real immorality.

  9. Andrew Ulrich
    October 28, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    All well said, but the real immorality is continuing GHG emissions from all sources. Radical reductions are imperative for all sectors – energy, agriculture, shipping, aviation, manufacturing, cars and trucks. Any intelligent analysis of the numbers, including feedback loops, indicates cessation of life for human beings within a century or two and probably a lot sooner. Only serious dedication to decarbonization gives us any chance at all. We face serious changes and challenges for all countries, continents, and socio-economic classes. Yes, we have to pay attention to the alarmists, instead of dismissing them. Entire industries, including shipping, will fundamentally change or go away. The question is do we make the changes, or do we let them happen to us in an unpredictable way.

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 29, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you Andrew,

      You illustrate the point very well.

      Most shipping people are still saying “but ours is the most fuel efficient, hence the most environmentally benign, form of transport”, and believing that they can leave it at that.

      Bjorn and I have been thinking about the scale of shipping now, but neither of us thought enough about the feedback loops. Your example of the reduction in the albedo at the Poles is a good one and though I am hardly an expert I will try to explain it. Please correct any errors here:

      The albedo effect is a measure of the amount of solar energy reflected back into spahe. So a low albedo increases planetary warming and a high one lessens
      it. The albedo of ice is about 0.95, so nineteen twentieth’s of the solar energy falling on ice is reflected. The albedo of Water is about 0.1 so ninety percent of th solar energy falling on water is retained. As Polar ice melts, the albedo of the planet falls and more ice melts and…

  10. Insider
    October 30, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    For those using the “you don’t understand how IMO works argument”- I have attended every IMO committee and sub committee for the past four years and I can say with my hand on my heart that the findings of this report are absolutely true.
    For many countries the IMO representative and the national ship owners association representative are one and the same. Yes NGO’s do not get a vote but the degree of influence and whether your opinion is listened to seems as an NGO to depend on whether you are representing the shipping industry or not. Submissions and arguments by industry representatives seem in many cases to be given the same validity as those by member states. Arguments from seafarer representatives are more often than not met with stony silence and those from environmental organisations have on more than one occasion been met with open sneering and sniggering from the plenary floor.
    This is not limited to CO2, implementation of the ballast water convention (2004) has once again been delayed due to concerted lobbying action. The supposed new sulphur requirements (which were agreed in 2008) are still subject to a desperate throw of the dice to delay further with “guidelines for implementation” after ship owners muddied the waters for several years with spurious arguments about fuel availability. It was agreed to amend the guidelines on mitigation of fatigue on the provision that there would be no rule changes – greeted with open laughter in the committee despite pure common sense telling you that working 91 hours a week in a safety critical industry is absurd. The newly agreed level for the R factor for passenger ships has been agreed on the basis of no science whatsoever but compromise between what is actually required and what industry representatives would like. Recently the IMO has failed to agree that a cargo that has caused multiple deaths due to liquefaction is a cargo prone to liquefaction. I could go on but from my experience of the IMO it is obvious that the pocket of the shipowner is the overridng priority and the basis from which all discussions are started.
    And yes I have chosen to remain anonymous because as we all know, reporting what is said in meetings, where issues that affect the entire human race are discussed, is strictly forbidden.

    1. Andrew Craig-Bennett
      October 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      THANK YOU!

      It is refreshing to read such honesty, and you are well advised to remain anonymous, given the trolling that I am getting.

      (And just a few days ago another bulker with nickel ore capsized and drowned more than half her crew…)

  11. Roger
    October 31, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Interesting article, and the IMO insight (though biased) might well be valid.
    However, the idea of the “disruptive” sailing / wind propulsion technology might have got twisted a little. Disruptiveness of technology comes with their economic efficiency. We all want to make money, don’t we. To do this better, you got to save it. That’s the technology edge of cost savings. Sailing ships over rowed ones, the propeller, diesel engines over steam propulsion offered cost savings, same as ever larger (=more carrying) vessels. So the revolution for going green in shipping will come from disruptive technologies that allow cost savings. This might well zero fuel consumption vessels with sails or wind turbines, but (because of energy efficiency) likely zero emission ships burning/reacting fuel with neutral emissions (such as LNG derived from water using renewables on- or offshore, or hydrogen fuel cells etc.) After all, the real cuts in shipping emissions will come from less shipping, because of all the emissions involved even in zero emissions ships, in order to produce, maintain, crew, equip, and latest recycle these vessels. The ultimate disruptive technology will be the one not requiring shipping, because the product can be generated cheaper right at place. Sorry for the shipping – better for the oceans and the whole planet.

  12. Roger
    October 31, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    So… the pocket of the shipowners is the key…. the disruptive technology in terms of zero emissions will be the one making it more cost-effective (cheaper) to ship at zero emissions. There are some developments on that. (LNG from renewables, fuel cells, nuclear -> still not cost effective enough) (although shipping, especially windpowered), will still cause a lot of ‘indirect’ emissions, to maintain, supply, equip, crew, build and recycle these vessels.)
    And the real disruptive technology will be the one making shipping uneccessary, due to cheaper production right in place. He?

  13. Nick Cowles
    November 1, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    What about the pockets of the Shippers, Receivers and End users. Its all very easy placing the costs onto the shipowner , but unless the freight earned guarantees the outlay required, then those dictating the Policy will be deemed as inept. I am not sure schemes such as Carbon Credits or the guaranted subsidies found in costly offshore wind farms in Britain , are the right tool, but some tool is better than no tool ?

    Just like Bunker Adjustment and Currency adjustment factors , perhaps an Eviromental Adjustment Tool would be ideal and could vary on port of load and port of discharge depending on enviromental demands . Same to be paid to the shipowner seperate to the Freight .. after all we wouldnt want some crafty trader refusing to pay it ?