This article takes issue with the Emissions Trading System (ETS) put in place by the EU. Pricing the emissions of various fuels into the equation will induce fuel users to use cleaner fuels in some cases. The argument goes that such process, based on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the fuel, will be compromised by the lack of availability of cleaner fuels until sufficient supplies are readily available. And the process considers only greenhouse gases and not the lifecycle costs of certain fuels.
Perhaps the pricing scheme can be adjusted. Certainly there will be more investment in cleaner fuel capabilities. But the issues brought up are real. Just how significant they are is yet to be seen.
One real issue, however, is the fact that maritime operators can avoid fueling at EU ports and places where the ETS price is added. They can choose routes where dirty fuels can be burned, and minimize their time sailing where ETS is enforced. One way to reduce this is to create green corridors, where use of clean fuel is mandatory. An example is the Singapore to Rotterdam corridor backed by those governments.
Norway is a leader in the development of clean transport, especially maritime. They have been experimenting with autonomous ships for several years.
Here are two new ships, which will not operate autonomously at the start, but will sail with a crew of 4. However, the goal is to test the systems for two years, and become autonomous after that.
They will transport products for a grocery along the coast of Norway. There is a plan for an all-electric corridor, including these ships and a fleet of electric trucks for the start and end parts of the trip.
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.