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New ‘groundbreaking’ platform provides maritime trade info, supports decarbonisation

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has developed a ‘groundbreaking’ platform that delivers information on cargo transported by individual vessels, the companies that own the cargo and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission associated with global maritime trade.

Named Global Shipping Watch, the platform is said to bring a new level of analytical depth, accountability and transparency to shipping and international supply chains.

As disclosed, the platform introduces a pilot version covering large trading countries such as the U.S. and Brazil.

It combines a detailed description of cargo in individual ships, including ownership information, with data on ship movements and operations obtained from satellites and land stations.

Developed within the research project Spatially Explicit Analysis of Cargo Associated maritime Shipping Emissions (SEA-CASE), the Global Shipping Watch is partly funded by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

According to developers, this open-access demonstration platform:

  • contributes to corporate carbon reporting on scope 3 emissions (i.e. indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain);
  • helps consumers to understand the real carbon footprint of their choices;
  • benchmarks the performance of accountable supply-chain actors (carriers, vessels, export companies, and countries) by setting credible baselines;
  • provides information for more efficient chartering operations, for modelling improved shipping operations, and for a more efficient global maritime architecture; and
  • enables better analysis of supply chain vulnerabilities, bottlenecks and commercial opportunities.

It currently includes data on all the maritime exports and imports of the U.S. as well as the exports of countries including Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ghana and Indonesia, in the year 2019. The ambition is to increase the geographical and temporal coverage of the platform to include most of the global maritime trade, SEI explains.

“The combination of detailed cargo data and vessel operations data brings a very powerful product and shines a light on what has long been a blind spot. Companies, investors, governments and research organisations can now use the data to inform decisions and actions to improve maritime shipping logistics and decrease emissions”, said Javier Godar, a senior researcher at SEI.

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