From LA to Shanghai, ports, cities and box lines partner to reduce emissions

Source: Container News
Date: 23rd October 2023

Concerns about climate change have prompted businesses all around the world to reconsider their shipping tactics. Companies in the supply chain industry are changing their procedures to satisfy demand as customers become increasingly interested in sustainable solutions.

A partnership of leading maritime goods movement stakeholders, including the Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the port of Shanghai in China, as well as some of the world’s largest shipping lines, has developed a Green Shipping Corridor Implementation Plan Outline to accelerate emission reductions on one of the world’s busiest container shipping routes.

Moreover, C40 Cities, a global network of mayors aiming to provide the urgent action required to address the climate issue, assisted in drafting the plan. C40 serves as the Green Shipping Corridor’s facilitator, assisting cities, ports, and corridor partners by organising, convening, facilitating, and providing communications support in support of the corridor’s aims.

The involved parties are still discussing the technologies and the digital systems that will need to be implemented. The Port of Los Angeles will collaborate with the participating shipping lines, such as CMA CGM, COSCO, Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk and Evergreen, to identify the best viable practices for the vessel requirements while simultaneously meeting the corridor’s climate targets.

A Port of Los Angeles (POLA) representative told Container News the decisions about the technologies and digital systems that will be implemented are expected to be heavily affected by factors such as scalability, fuel supply, and demand.

The green shipping corridor plan asks for more investment in energy-efficient shipping equipment, as well as a speedier transition to alternative, low-carbon fuels to minimise maritime transportation’s carbon impact. Therefore, e-methanol, hydrogen and ammonia have been discussed as possible solutions, but not necessarily adopted.

According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) data, emissions of greenhouse gases from the world’s marine fleet are increasing. They increased by 4.7% between 2020 and 2021, with container ships, dry bulk carriers, and general cargo vessels accounting for the majority of the increase.

The average age of the fleet, like emissions, is growing, which is a problem for the environment because older ships pollute more. The current average age of ships is 21.9 years, and 11.5 years by carrying capacity.

Moreover, ships are becoming older in part because shipowners are unsure about future technological advancements and the most cost-effective fuels, as well as shifting laws and carbon costs.

“Ocean carriers will ultimately make their own decisions regarding the deployment of new ships and/or the repowering of older vessels. We do anticipate the need for new vessels on the corridor as part of this effort, but cannot state when or how many at this time,” a Port of Los Angeles spokesperson pointed out.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, but that only applies to international shipping – not ports and local shipping. Port cities have a critical role to play in filling that gap.

In response to this, the Port of Los Angeles stated that as part of the initiative, all the involved ports will collaborate on port and local emissions. Each port has worked independently and collaboratively to create local emissions reduction technology.

Providing power to ships at berth and/or managing emissions using various at-berth technologies, demonstrating and implementing zero-emissions cargo handling equipment, and introducing low/zero-emissions assist/tug vessels are examples of such technologies.

“The Ports will exchange best practices and work together to build new demonstration initiatives,” noted POLA’s representative.

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