Did you know that, while shipping goods keeps our global economies going, it also produces more CO2 than the aviation industry? With so much focus on going green and being more environmentally friendly, the one industry that is not getting enough attention is the shipping industry.


The Numbers

Experts say that around 11 billion tons of goods are shipped by more than 50 000 merchant ships every year. In 2019, these ships covered about 60 trillion tonne-miles, which refers to transporting one tonne of goods over one nautical mile. With these high numbers, the amount of CO2 emissions add up, and as international trade increases, so will the emissions. If we continue as we are now, by 2050 global shipping is expected to contribute around 17% of human-caused emissions.


How Can we Reduce Emmissions?

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which regulates the global shipping industry, only set meaningful emission reduction targets in 2018, even though they were asked to do so as far back as 1997, under the Kyoto Protocol. This aside, they are now working towards a plan to halve shipping emissions between 2008 and 2050, while at the same time aiming for full decarbonisation. They say that by 2030, the carbon emissions per tonne-mile of individual ships should fall by 40% when compared to 2008. We are yet to see how they plan to do this and what regulations will be enforced.


Some say that by reducing our need for imported goods and rather using what we have available locally, we will reduce the need for global cargo transportation. Emerging fuels, such as hydrogen and ammonia, also have the potential to lower carbon emissions. Ships could also opt for more natural forms of energy such as wind and solar to power them.


One thing is for sure – Earth needs to be taken care of and we need to do something to reduce carbon emissions now. The future we have and the planet we leave for our children depends on our actions today. At your office, you can reduce your own wastage and emissions by adopting technology, which will allow you to go paperless and help you plan your stock and transportation better, using less fuel and emitting fewer emissions.


Let us help you help the planet. Visit our website to find out more about our Digital Control Tower: www.centralstation.co.za

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