Future Bodes Well For Eco-Friendly Container Ships
A new survey of 60 shipping companies reports that shipping companies may be changing how they fuel up.
The report, by HSH Nordbank, claims that stricter regulations from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) could cause shipping companies to cease the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) and retrofit existing container ships to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Of the companies surveyed, 75% of the companies reported they were researching new ways of improving fuel efficiency while 29% said they were already in the process of retrofitting to LNG. Currently, the worldwide shipping industry contributes 2.7% of all greenhouse emissions.
MARPOL Annex VI, which goes into effect January 2015, states that sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions must decrease significantly. Under Annex VI, the global sulphur cap in what's known as "emission control areas" (Black Sea, North Sea, North American seas, Caribbean seas) must decrease from 1.0% (current) to 0.1% by January 2015.
To accomplish this limit, many companies are wondering whether or not to retrofit their existing infrastructure or build new ships altogether. According to the new report, more than half of the companies surveyed claimed to be in the process of constructing new ships that had would be more energy-efficient. Just last month, it was reported that Maersk is in negotiations with Gazprom over using LNG as their main fuel source.
Some believe that a newer, more efficient fleet of container ships will create a schism in the industry between older ships and more efficient container ships. The first LNG-fitted container ship was the Provalys in 2006 and since her launch, over fifty ships have been constructed in a similar fashion.