CO2: maritime sector emissions on the rise - Business

CO2: maritime sector emissions on the rise – Business

Scrapping old polluting ships, adapting ports to alternative fuel infrastructure, decarbonizing… the UN on Tuesday called on maritime transport to accelerate its energy transition instead of multiplying greenhouse gas emissions.

Ships transport more than 80% of the goods traded globally, underlines the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) in its annual report on maritime transport. However, total carbon emissions from the world’s maritime fleet have increased by 4.7% between 2020 and 2021, a “figure which is “going in the wrong direction”, warned UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan during the presentation of the report.With a current average age of almost 22 years, “we are also concerned about the aging of ships (which) pollute more as they age”, added the former vice-president of Costa Rica.

UNCTAD calls on the sector to invest more in technical and operational improvements to reduce its carbon footprint. These include switching to alternative, low-carbon or carbon-free fuels, using shore-based electricity sources in ports, and equipping ships with energy-efficient technologies. But investments in new ships that reduce emissions risk being hampered by soaring interest rates, darkening economic prospects and regulatory uncertainties, worries the UN institution. The report therefore calls for the establishment of a predictable global regulatory framework for investing in decarbonisation and for increased support for developing countries in the energy transition. It further highlights the urgent need to adapt ports to the effects of climate change, especially in the most vulnerable nations.

In the future, ports, to remain competitive, will have to be able to meet the requirements of ships that have become greener, including by supplying them with cleaner energy and offering them appropriate maintenance services. “If ports are not prepared to maintain these ships under these new regulations, they will lose out,” UNCTAD’s technology and logistics director Shamika Sirimanne told reporters.

Consolidation and oversizing

International maritime trade rebounded significantly in 2021 with an estimated growth of 3.2%, following a 3.8% drop recorded in 2020, according to the report. “In 2022, this recovery ran out of steam”, underlined Ms. Sirimanne, mainly due to the global economic slowdown, new waves of Covid-19 which led to factory closures in China and global geopolitical tensions.

Growth should remain moderate this year, at 1.4%. For the period 2023-2027, world maritime trade is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2.1%, a slower pace than the average over the previous three decades (3.3%). “Over the past two years, the maritime sector has suffered huge disruptions. Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, climate change and geopolitics have led to closures of ports and shipping routes and driven up prices,” he said. remarked Mrs. Grynspan.

As for freight rates, Sirimanne explained, they are expected to remain above pre-pandemic averages and be more volatile due to the cost of decarbonization and industry consolidation.

Faced with this strong consolidation – horizontal through mergers and acquisitions and vertical through investments in terminal operations and other logistics services, UNCTAD calls for safeguarding competition, in particular to curb the increase in tariffs and prices for consumers. Over the past five years, the four largest carriers have increased their market share to control more than half of global capacity, the report reveals.

The oversizing of ships, in connection with the consolidation of the sector, also worries the Cnuced which fears that the small ports, in particular of the poor countries and the island countries, can no longer accommodate them.

Ships transport more than 80% of the goods traded globally, underlines the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) in its annual report on maritime transport. However, total carbon emissions from the world’s maritime fleet have increased by 4.7% between 2020 and 2021, a “figure which is “going in the wrong direction”, warned UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan during the presentation of the report.With a current average age of almost 22 years, “we are also concerned about the aging of ships (which) pollute more as they age”, added the former vice-president of Costa Rica. UNCTAD calls on the sector to invest more in technical and operational improvements to reduce its carbon footprint, including switching to alternative, low-carbon or carbon-free fuels, using electricity sources ashore in ports and to equip ships with energy-efficient technologies.But investments in new ships that reduce emissions are likely to be hampered by soaring interest rates, the darkening economic outlook and regulatory uncertainties, worries the UN institution. The report therefore calls for the establishment of a predictable global regulatory framework for investing in decarbonisation and for increased support for developing countries in the energy transition. It further highlights the urgent need to adapt ports to the effects of climate change, especially in the most vulnerable nations. In the future, ports, to remain competitive, will need to be able to meet the demands of ships that have become greener, including by supplying them with cleaner energy and offering them appropriate maintenance services. “If ports are not prepared to service these vessels under these new regulations, they will lose out,” UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, Shamika Sirimanne, told reporters. International maritime trade has rebounded significantly in 2021 with growth estimated at 3.2%, after a 3.8% decline recorded in 2020, according to the report. “In 2022, this recovery ran out of steam,” said Ms. Sirimanne, mainly due to the global economic slowdown, new waves of Covid-19 which led to factory closures in China and global geopolitical tensions. Growth should remain moderate this year, at 1.4%. For the period 2023-2027, world maritime trade is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2.1%, a slower pace than the average over the previous three decades (3.3%). “Over the past two years, the maritime sector has suffered huge disruptions. Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, climate change and geopolitics have led to closures of ports and shipping routes and driven up prices,” he said. Ms. Grynspan noted. As for freight rates, Ms. Sirimanne explained, they are expected to remain above pre-pandemic averages and be more volatile due to the cost of decarbonization and industry consolidation. horizontal through mergers and acquisitions and vertical through investments in terminal operations and other logistics services, UNCTAD calls for safeguarding competition, in particular to curb the increase in tariffs and prices for consumers. Over the past five years, the four largest carriers have increased their market share to control more than half of the world’s capacity, the report reveals. Vessel oversizing, linked to industry consolidation, is also a concern for UNCTAD which fears that small ports, especially in poor countries and island countries, will no longer be able to accommodate them.

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