A good summary as of the beginning of October 2022. Drewry research is well executed and they have thoughtful analysis.
There is an oversupply of container shipping capacity coming. There are so many newbuilds coming. And the amount of container freight seems to be leveling off, if not declining. And congestion seems to be declining, in at least the places that were bad over the past two years. Currently port congestion is responsible for only about 7% of effective capacity loss, down from as high as 17%.
Drewry’s position is that liner firms have the ability to control the supply of shipping, but they need to be careful to do it right. But the thinking is that the firms themselves cannot completely bridge the gap between supply and demand. Missed sailings can help, and so can phasing out old ships faster. that would also be a benefit for the climate change issues we face.
Drewry – Weekly Feature Articles – Managing the decline
UCL Energy Institute is a very influential research group. The UCL part is University College London. Their investigation of LNG-fueled vessels indicates that these ships are not on the best path to reduce carbon emissions. Thus, many of them being built now will need to be scrapped early.
The study could be quite influential. Shipowners have recently been investing in LNG-powered ships to produce reduced emissions now, especially since methane emissions are not being measured as they should. LNG ships emit methane, a worse greenhouse gas than CO2, through slip from the engine and the fuel handling operations. Most ships have not put in place advanced methane recovery systems.
The ships involved are dual-fuel ships that burn both oil and LNG, as well as single-fuel LNG powered ships.
The scientific evidence seems to indicate that LNG power may actually be worse than Low Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil (LSHFO) when all the lifecycle emissions are analyzed. So the ultimate economic effect of the now LNG builds may turn out to be quite a waste of money.
The full report from the UCL Institute can be read here.
Shipbreaking is one of the most difficult problems for those with a concern about ESG. It touches all three areas.
Environmentally, in most shipbreaking operations in places like Bangladesh, ships are simply driven ashore, potentially dumping fuel and other waste into the water. Then, numerous local workers armed with acetylene torches climb all over them cutting up the steel, for which they are paid piecework, by the pound. The labor is very dangerous, but it’s the only source of work in those areas. And because ship owners are governed by the laws of the registry state, there is virtually no ability to enforce any rules on their behavior.
Developed countries are trying to come up with ways of shipbreaking with higher standards. In this article we see that the Dutch firm Circular Maritime Technologies International (CMT) is introducing a new automated way of shipbreaking.
This is an excellent response to a problem that has existed for years, but is just coming into public consciousness.