Swire Shipping to ink construction deal for sail-assisted cargo vessel shortly

Swire Shipping plans to sign the building contract for the first pilot vessel of the Project Cerulean by the end of June 2021.

The project, announced two years ago, aims to develop low-carbon, low-cost sail-assisted inter-island cargo vessels to serve communities in the Pacific that lack cargo handling infrastructure. 

Swire expects the ship to be ready for delivery in June next year.

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The project is part of the company’s low carbon initiatives aimed at achieving net zero by 2050. Activities under this umbrella include implementing T&O measures and offsetting any outstanding Scope 1 and 2 emissions through the company’s “Sail Greener” programme, set to be launched in mid-2021. However, the company estimates that ultimately these emissions will have to be paid for by the customer on a mandatory basis.

Swire is also looking at having a low or zero carbon fleet, starting by at least 2030, using sustainable, alternate fuels such as green ammonia, biofuel, hydrogen and methanol, depending on their availability and safety.

Commenting on its sustainability activities, Swire Shipping has also voiced support to the earliest global adoption and implementation of the “Proposal for IMO to Establish a Universal Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Levy” submitted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands and The Solomon Islands to IMO MEPC 76.

Under the proposal, the IMO is asked to establish a mandatory and universal GHG emissions levy by 2025 with an entry price of $100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The company believes that the upstream development of the necessary global delivery infrastructure for sustainable low or zero carbon fuels will be expedited if market based measures are introduced that more realistically price our sector’s GHG emissions.

“With many communities at risk of disappearing we must take action to drive change. We are committed to reducing our GHG footprint, ultimately to net zero by, and preferably well before, 2050,” said James Woodrow, Managing Director, The China Navigation Company; parent of Swire Shipping.

“Whilst we have already invested $650 million over the last seven years to renew our fleet to be more carbon-efficient, further reductions in our GHG footprint will require more Technical and Operational (T&O) measures to be adopted. Ultimately though we will not be able to reduce sufficiently our contribution to global warming until a sustainable alternative – low or zero carbon fuel – becomes technically and financially viable.”

“The real and urgent change that is necessary now will be driven by the earliest adoption of a mandatory high-ambition levy on all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. This is an immediate priority measure and must run alongside a revised, heightened level of ambition in the Revised IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships.

“The Pacific Islands’ Communities are relying on organisations such as ours to provide leadership and to take positive action now,” said Jeremy Sutton, General Manager, Swire Shipping.