21 Dec 2021
While the journey towards zero-emission shipping has had its fair share of challenges, the industry’s resolve to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 is headed in the right direction. But there is still more that needs to be done.
A new study produced for the Getting to Zero Coalition suggests that the current rate of change needs to be accelerated in order to meet this target. Establishing green corridors has been identified as a method that could help speed up the process and tackle the challenges that come with decarbonising the industry.
A coalition of 20 countries, including Britain and the United States, came together in early November 2021 to sign the Clydebank Declaration for green shipping corridors at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. This monumental move saw signatories agree to the intention of establishing green zero-emission ocean shipping corridors with the objective being that the shipping industry will accomplish decarbonisation through green maritime routes between ports.
What are green shipping corridors?
Described in the industry as the "tipping point" for the development of eco-conscious maritime solutions, green corridors are routes that connect two or more major port hubs where zero-carbon emissions solutions and fuels are utilised and produced. Through these trading routes, signatories have agreed to support partnerships with ports, operators, and others along the value chain to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime world and its fuel supply.
The declaration aims to establish six green corridors by 2025 by implementing four crucial elements: collaboration, a feasible fuel pathway, customer demand and regulation. The objective is to see the development of supplies for zero-emission fuels, along with the necessary infrastructure needed for the decarbonisation and regulatory frameworks.
Here are the latest commitments made through this declaration:
● Establish partnerships with ports, operators, and other stakeholders along the supply chain to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector and in the shipping fuels supplied.
● Address challenges in building green corridors such as regulations, incentives, and infrastructure.
● Consider including green corridor provisions in developments and reviews of national action plans.
● Ensure that sustainability and environmental impacts are considered when creating green shipping corridors.
The declaration is a huge leap forward for green shipping corridors and sustainable action, with the mission statement noting: "It is our aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030."
According to a recent green corridors report, the only hope the industry has for zero emissions to be successful is to ensure that it is an economically competitive option for companies. These green trade routes offer the maritime world benefits that go beyond the environment as these green routes provide offtake certainty to fuel producers, allowing for additional scaling of zero-emission fuel production that is concentrated in one location. They also generate strong demand signals to vessel operators, shipyards, and engine manufacturers to scale and catalyze investments in zero-emission shipping.
A number of major shipping corridors have already been identified as having a high potential for providing the industry with the opportunities it needs to make the eco transition. The Australia-Japan iron ore corridor, the Asia-Europe container route, and the Korea-Japan-US pure car carrier (PCC) corridor are just a few that have been classified as being able to support this endeavour.
Staying in the present
Global trade cannot exist without an efficient maritime industry, which has resulted in around 80% of global trade being carried via the ocean. This has established the industry as one of the biggest polluters in the world with international shipping responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite a decrease in trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for shipping is only expected to increase with emissions projected to surge by 50% by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario.
While establishing green corridors may be the solution the industry needs to decarbonise, it will take time. To help mitigate climate change and protect our oceans, regular hull cleaning has been identified as a method to aid in reducing the environmental impact of vessels.
HullWiper’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) offers an effective method when it comes to safe underwater and eco-friendly hull cleaning. The ROV employs adjustable high-pressure seawater jets that spray directly onto a ship's hull at high velocity to dislodge waste materials, offering a safer option when compared to traditional methods of divers with brushes (which may add waste plastics into the water column) or karts or using other abrasive materials (diver with a handheld wire brush!). Vessel operators benefit from fuel and energy efficiency savings, along with ensuring that expensive anti-fouling coating remains intact.