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How the shipping sector is utilising decarbonisation – World Maritime Day 2022

With environmental sustainability being a key issue in the shipping industry, it is driving many discussions about the industry's future. In line with the Paris Agreement and the International Maritime Organisation’s goals, much of the shipping sector is committed to decarbonisation. This article explores how the industry is attempting to reduce its footprint through innovation.

The shipping industry accounts for 2-3% of global CO2 emissions (S&P Global). The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations body that regulates the shipping industry, has set a goal of halving carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 2008 levels, with the ultimate goal of eliminating them entirely.

Researching alternative fuel methods is currently a major motivator in the industry. Liquefied natural gas emits 30% less CO2 than fuel oil and 45% less than coal, with a twofold reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and almost no environmentally damaging sulphur dioxide emissions (Elengy), making it by far the cleanest fossil fuel.

Other fuels being developed include hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and nuclear. There are talks of a wind-powered carried being launched in 2025.

The shipping industry is proposing a joint R&D fund to help fund the development of new technologies. The IMO proposal involves a mandatory levy of US$2 per tonne on marine fuel, which would generate a total of $5 billion over a ten-year period.

New business models are also being tested in order to spread the costs and risks associated with new solutions across the value chain.

Meanwhile, ship owners say that ships built in the next year or two must be designed to be able to switch to the new fuels once they are developed. Ships can last up to 30 years, so many purchased in the next year or two will still be sailing in 2050.

Some shipping companies intend to completely decarbonise by 2050 as per the Paris Agreement. This is putting pressure on the IMO’s targets. They are hoping that the increased pressure will result in more stringent targets at the COP27 climate talks in November.

Shipping industry representatives say they need clarity on how the regulations will be implemented within the next few months. And those regulations must be global; regional regulations are ineffective in a global industry like shipping.

Companies are also requesting a level playing field so that fleets using more expensive alternative fuels can compete with those that have yet to transition away from fossil fuels.
While both crew travel and vessel operation are years away from having only minimal environmental CO2 impact through improved technology and alternative energies, carbon offsetting what cannot be reduced against certified and verified projects is increasingly seen as a requirement if companies, and entire industry sectors, are to meet their 2050 net zero commitments. 


With so much emphasis on Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the launch of ATPI Halo one year ago is proving popular with shipping clients looking for a solution to help them measure and reduce Scope 3 emissions, of which business critical crew travel is a significant contributor.

With the decarbonisation of shipping at the top of the environmental sustainability agenda, many marine-based businesses are looking for an opportunity to maintain the ocean’s biodiversity whilst investing in clean energy projects.

For this reason, ATPI added the Delta Blue Carbon Project to our certified offset portfolio. The project allows companies to offset unavoidable emissions through supporting a major mangrove regeneration, at the same time as improving nature diversity and supporting local communities across Pakistan’s Sindh Province.

“ATPI are helping clients in the maritime sector to move closer to their and the industry’s carbon reduction goals through our innovative ATPI Halo service, helping them to MEASURE, REDUCE & OFFSET” – Pippa Strasser-Ganderton, Product Director ATPI Halo.

Why not find out more about how ATPI Halo can help you achieve your decarbonisation goals by taking that first step to reducing your crew travel emissions now and for next year and beyond.


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