Greenhouse gas emissions from three ship types – containerships, bulkers and tankers – could be reduced by a third, on average, by reducing their speed, according to a new study that will be presented to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) next week.
The cumulative savings from reducing the speed of these ships alone could, by 2030, be as much as 12% of shipping’s total remaining carbon budget if the world is to stay under the 1.5ºC global temperature rise, the CE Delft study for NGOs Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment, founding members of the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), found.
Reducing operational speed would also provide a boost to jobs and growth in shipbuilding nations, where the study concludes production would have to grow by over 30% in order to maintain transport capacity for global trade. The study also concludes that the additional costs of slow steaming on exports such as oilcake and beef from Latin America would be marginal, and this is without accounting for lower transport fuel costs.
Bill Hemmings of T&E said: “Shipping is the only international sector that has yet to commit to a global emissions reduction target or measures…But industry itself showed clearly that slow steaming works. It proved effective in weathering the economic crisis, so the IMO should now agree mandatory speed measures to achieve the substantial emissions reductions needed to start decarbonisation.”
The analysed ship types cumulatively account for around 52% of global shipping’s carbon footprint. Substantial additional savings will be made when the speed of the remainder of the fleet is also reduced.
The findings will be discussed by the IMO next week when it meets for the second time to develop its initial 2018 greenhouse gas reduction strategy. The UN discussions in London will concentrate on a global emissions reduction target and potential measures for the sector. Regulating ship speed is one of the short-term measures on the table that can be implemented immediately.
John Maggs of Seas At Risk and President of Clean Shipping Coalition: “A new regulation to reduce ship speed will be key to the success of the IMO GHG strategy. Only reduced speed can give the fast, deep short-term emissions reductions that are needed for shipping to meet its Paris Agreement obligations.”