Green Waves: The Drive for Sustainable Ocean Shipping

Martijn Graat
Martijn Graat

Does Logistics Matter? Answering YES to the question in the latest podcast episode is Jason Anderson, Senior Program Director at the ClimateWorks Foundation.

The Current State of Decarbonisation in the Shipping Industry

With 90% of materials around you having been on a container ship at some point and adding bulk carriers and tankers to that, many ships are navigating our oceans. While they can transport large quantities of material, they also burn bunker fuel, which is the worst kind of fuel from a carbon footprint point of view. A lot can be gained if the adoption of alternative, cleaner fuels is sped up. Especially the large carriers are slow-steaming when it comes to the adoption of cleaner fuel (pun intended).

Technological Innovations and Operational Challenges

Cleaner, greener, and more sustainable bunker fuels are available, and new fuels like ammonia and methanol are being implemented. As Jason points out in the episode, the shipping industry used to be zero-emission, using only the wind to cross the oceans. Interestingly, this old technique has been re-vamped and is being used in different ways to save fuel and, in some cases, even fully wind-powered.

While technological advancements are present, economic and regulatory forces are creating challenges in the adoption of cleaner fuels. The switch to sustainable fuels requires shipping companies to invest in new propulsion systems. On top of that, cleaner fuels cost more than bunker fuel. Shippers play a part here as well. If they are prepared to pay more for a ship running on sustainable fuel, the shipping companies are prepared to operate them.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Green Shipping

One thing is certain. We haven’t seen the end of sustainable innovations yet, and new technological developments will keep propelling the shipping industry toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. If you want to learn more about the current state of sustainable shipping, what the main challenges and innovations are, and what the future will look like, listen to my conversation with Jason Anderson via the player below or on your favourite podcast app.

This episode is powered by The ClimateWorks Foundation

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