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Indiaexportnews.com

Container shipping industry helps “kick the CO2 habit”

  05.06.2008    

Global container shipping lines are taking the opportunity of World Environment Day, held every year on June 5, to emphasise their commitment to environmental protection and reducing their impact on the environment.  
Speaking through the new industry organisation, the Container Shipping Information Service (CSIS), container shipping lines have asserted that, despite carrying most of the world’s manufactured goods and products, the industry is making great strides in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions.  
According to Philip Chow, CEO of OOCL and acting as CSIS spokesman, the container shipping industry is not resting on its laurels with regards to environmental care and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. “CSIS fully supports World Environment Day and we hope that it will help to stimulate public awareness of environmental issues,” said Mr Chow.  
Organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy. The aim is to highlight resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and lifestyles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, conservation and eco-friendly consumption. 
As part of World Environment Day, the UNEP has listed “Twelve steps to help you kick the CO2 habit” to encourage lower carbon emissions. CSIS members are following these steps by providing innovative solutions to preventing harmful emissions and protecting the environment. These solutions have resulted in modern container ships emitting only 25% of carbon dioxide (CO2) that a container ship did in the 1970s – while carrying up to ten times as many containers.
 
The 12 steps include:
 
1. Make a commitment
The container shipping industry as a whole has made a commitment to lowering its emissions and contributing to environmental protection.
 
“Container shipping is the most environmentally sound way to transport large volumes of goods across the world. However, we realise that it is a very large industry and inevitably has an effect on the environment,” said Mr. Philip Chow, CEO of OOCL. “In today’s world, every business in every industry must proactively work to reduce harmful emissions. The container shipping industry recognises the need to encourage sustainable economic development through innovative and voluntary measures.”
 
2. Assess where you stand
According to UNEP, knowing where and how you generate greenhouse gases is the first step to reducing them. The container shipping industry uses carbon calculators to calculate its emissions, as well as sophisticated technology, voluntary environmental management guidelines and metrics to help evaluate and improve the performance of freight transport. Many CSIS members are part of the Clean Cargo Working Group, which subscribes to Business for Social Responsibility guidelines to create a more just and sustainable global economy,
 
3. Decide and plan where you want to go
UNEP advocates developing a strategy and action plan to reduce energy by setting targets and benchmarks. CSIS members have set focused goals and targets to reduce energy consumption, making improvements in fuel filtering and setting optimum travelling speeds to reduce emissions.
 
4. De-carbon your life
Everything an individual, organisation, business or government does or uses embodies some form of carbon, either in products themselves or in the energy and materials it takes to make them. The container shipping industry has developed better ship handling techniques, waste heat recovery and reductions in onboard power usage to reduce its overall emissions.
 
5. Get energy efficient
Improving the efficiency of our vessels is the fastest and most effective way to save money, energy and carbon emissions. A new generation of container ships have been built with more efficient main engines, optimal hull designs and the latest propeller technology to improve fuel efficiency, and container shipping lines take steps to ensure that their ships travel at the optimum speed for efficient fuel consumption. In addition, new paint that keeps hulls free of barnacles and other sea life offers apparent energy efficiencies, and improved weather prediction technology and routing systems help to avoid adverse weather and make the journey times more efficient.
6. Switch to low carbon energy
UNEP advises switching to energy sources that emit less carbon and can reduce costs and emissions. CSIS members are keeping a close watch on the emerging biofuels industry and will examine any possibilities of using these alternative sources in the future.
 
7. Invest in offsets and cleaner alternatives
Investing in carbon offsets or carbon credits can help a company become carbon neutral, which means “neutralising” emissions through supporting carbon savings elsewhere. CSIS members are exploring opportunities for offsetting emissions, such as emissions trading and conservation projects in places like South America and Australia.
 
8. Get efficient
“Reduce, re-use and recycle”. CSIS members are committed to controlling waste management on board vessels, as well as in offices around the world. One example is to eliminate the use of fax in our offices on land and a greater use of e-commerce in the industry.
 
9. Offer – or buy – low carbon products and services
From energy efficient products to new renewable energy systems, the market for climate friendly products and services is growing rapidly. The container shipping industry is starting to offer environmentally friendly methods for shippers to move their goods, such as the use of sustainable materials like bamboo as floorboards in containers. Modern reefer (refrigerated) containers are CFC-free, and a new generation of refrigerated containers achieve energy savings of up to 50% due to variable temperature control software.
 
10. Buy green, sell green
Growing numbers of consumers are willing to buy green products and services, if given the choice. CSIS environmental initiatives are not only focussed on the container ship aspects of the industry - they extend into every corner of the business including the use of short-sea, river barge or block rail train services in preference, where possible, to using road transport 
 
11. Team up
Although CSIS member lines are competitors, many of them work with the Clean Cargo Working Group and are full members of the World Shipping Council, as well as complying with regulations set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which regulates marine fuel sulphur content.
 
12. Talk
The increasing importance of climate change means that companies and organisations need to communicate better, and transparency is critical. Many CSIS members have published their environmental efforts online and CSIS has been established to communicate more widely about the container shipping industry, including the steps it is taking to reduce its environmental impact.
  
Initiatives which are in line with the spirit of World Environment Day are practiced by CSIS members every day at sea on their vessels, on land with their road and rail intermodal operations, and in their offices throughout the world. 
CSIS members are committed to maintaining momentum in enhancing their environmental performance.


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