SSI: Increased Scrutiny Pushes Shipping Industry Forward

Since 2012, industry progress has been driven by greater demand throughout shipping supply chains for transparency as well accelerating investments in alternatives to bunker fuel, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) says in its report titled ‘Changing Context.’

The combined effect of greater commercial and public scrutiny of shipping and sustainability-focused legislation has also led to increasing pressure for regulations to be enforced more strictly, the shipping industry coalition says.

The report says that higher expectations and increased scrutiny enabled by today’s highly networked, digital age have pushed investors, shipping customers and in turn, ports and charterers to push for transparency in ship performance. This has partially resulted in the development in incentives for the adoption of energy efficient technology (e.g. ship ratings schemes) and stronger sentiment towards the enforcement of sustainability standards and regulations.

Another rapid change identified in the report is that emissions regulations and the growth of renewable energy on land and forthcoming emission reduction targets have created momentum around investments in alternatives to marine fuel, with the most evident traction in the near-term around LNG. These developments coincide with the rising influence of emerging economies, which are leading the way on clean energy growth, fuelling both supply and demand, SSI says.

Alastair Fischbacher, chief executive, The Sustainable Shipping Initiative, said: ”Increased scrutiny and environmental regulation have undoubtedly put the industry under a fresh set of pressures over the last few years, and whilst many aspects of these are still being worked through, we are beginning to see some positive developments.”

Trends that are affecting shipping but at a steadier pace include the continued shift in economic and political power towards China, as well as the continued development of South-South trade, which is influencing demands on maritime services. Also, as more sustainability-driven legislation progresses, indications show that there is a little more certainty around the uptake of viable and proven efficiency-related technologies when compared with 2012.

The report highlights that challenges associated with improving ocean governance were not progressing as quickly as desired, largely due to increasing complexity. However, one of the areas of greatest concern was the industry’s response to climate change. With climate change accelerating more rapidly than predicted, a lack of policy and information directly related to shipping’s contribution and the impact of extreme climate change on the industry has stalled any proactive response.

”As climate change is on a track headed towards a ‘worst case’ scenario, the impact on shipping could be significant. For example rising sea levels, the opening of new shipping lanes due to melting ice caps and global trade patterns are all realities. Existing knowledge about climate change and hazards specific to the maritime sector remain insufficient for quantifying the economic consequences and specific needs to plan changes to safe ship designs and operations,” said Fischbacher.

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