Freight News, Sea

Green means must be economically sustainable, says shippers

[ May 24, 2019   //   ]

Shippers need to find sustainable solutions to environmental challenges but without stifling economic growth, said the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) in response to the launch of the International Transport Forum (ITF) Transport Outlook 2019.

GSF secretary general, James Hookham, said: “GSF is calling for an open dialogue between the shipping industry and the government to ensure policy measures remain practical and supportive of growth and jobs, while addressing the need to radically decarbonise transport; these issues cannot be addressed by policy makers in isolation.”

He added that ITF Transport Outlook 2019 focuses heavily on the need to decarbonise transport, but this challenge is particularly immense for maritime transport.  The report lists various solutions, most notably slow steaming, but GSF says this would have very negative consequences for shippers. As it would increase voyage times even further; it is not a sustainable solution.

It adds that while the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) should retain responsibility for this issue, more progress is needed on appropriate Market-Based Measures (MBM); a recent failure to reach a decision atwas disappointing for shippers. It is crucial to select a measure that will incentivise technical and operational measures to reduce CO2 and not simply pass on additional costs to shippers or significantly increase transit times. The Ship Efficiency Credit Trading (SECT) proposed by the US comes closest to meeting the principles for a good MBM set out by GSF.

Hookham concluded: “More than three quarters of all freight will continue to be carried by ships in 2050, practically unchanged from 2015. The report points towards a greater concentration of a limited number of ports and routes by the shipping industry, as a result of pressure to cut costs and maintain profitability. The risk for shippers is to end up with an even more dominant and concentrated shipping offer, less choice and potentially less quality too, because of decreasing competition.”