Shipping’s sustainable future will be fuelled by R&D, innovation and collaboration
These currently include low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol and hydrogen. Shipping lines can also use scrubber technology to reduce exhaust emissions from traditional high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO). Media and industry reports during January and February paint a mixed picture about the practicalities of complying with IMO2020. What is clear is that no-one doubts the cost, operational and technological implications of this global shift. But even while dealing with the ongoing challenges of the IMO2020 transition amid the unforeseen global impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the shipping industry is already looking ahead to an even bigger green goal: reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050.
The 50% GHG reduction from shipping by 2050 is the target set by IMO to ensure that shipping plays its part in meeting the 2016 Paris Agreement to mitigate global warming and achieving the UN Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGs). Some major container shipping interests have already stated that they intend to surpass the IMO2050 goal, with their eyes set firmly on a carbon-neutral future, not just for their ocean-going operations but also in landside logistics as an essential element of maritime supply chains.
One thing is sure – over the coming years, a great deal of R&D innovation and industry collaboration will be needed to improve energy and emissions efficiency in maritime supply chains. This is equally the case in the refrigeration and air conditioning industries, which intersect with world trade, shipping and logistics when it comes to the transport of food, medicines and other temperature-controlled cargoes. Indeed, Daikin’s own Environmental Vision 2050 has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our activities, products and services to net zero by 2050. In a speech on 20 February, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim stressed the “urgent need” to develop concrete measures to support IMO’s GHG emissions reductions strategy and called for more collaboration to build a truly sustainable future for shipping.
“Ambitious regulatory targets – adopted by IMO backed up by technical cooperation and capacity building activities – will act as the catalyst for technology, triggering research, development and innovation,” he said. In December last year, eight global shipping bodies* came together to propose the creation of the International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), a nongovernmental R&D organisation that would be overseen by IMO Member States, to support technology transformation towards a carbon-neutral and energy-efficient future. IMO is due to debate the IMRB proposal in March this year, which calls for a mandatory fuel levy to create a USD5 billion fund for R&D into new fuels, propulsion systems and other innovative approaches that will help shipping meet the climate challenge. Global ocean carrier CMA CGM has also launched an ‘alternative energy coalition’ focused on developing competitive, less carbon-intensive energy sources for transportation, starting with maritime.
Meanwhile, several new collaborative R&D initiatives have been launched by established technology providers looking to transform the energy footprint of shipping, ports and transportation. These are just a few examples of how regulators, private and public sectors in the shipping world are stepping up – and linking up – to address the sustainability challenge. As world trade in food and other cold chain cargoes remains a key growth area, it is also vital for providers of transport refrigeration and climate control technologies to have a strong voice and contribution. Through a combination of innovation, technical expertise, forward planning and a commitment to quality, Daikin is prepared not only for upcoming known ‘green’ regulations, but to collaborate and co-create with industry colleagues and clients through a period of profound and as-yet unknown change. This is just the beginning of a new normal for world trade. What we can be sure of is that the focus on sustainability will intensify and environmental regulations will get stricter. We are ready.
*IMRB member organisations are BIMCO, Cruise Lines International Association, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, International Parcel Tankers Association & World Shipping Council