Ship fuel efficiency cuts costs

Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from international shipping worldwide are projected to increase from 870 million tonnes to between 2000 and 3200 million tonnes (by a factor of 2.3 to 3.7) from 2007 levels by the year 2050 under business-as-usual scenarios.

A recent study commissioned by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has investigated the impact of energy efficiency measures agreed by the IMO earlier this year. It estimates that these measures could reduce emissions by 35-40 per cent below the business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2050, but also that absolute emissions will continue to grow.

The measures assessed are the energy efficiency design index (EEDI), to be introduced for new ships built after January 2013, and a wider requirement to develop ship energy efficiency management plans (SEEMPs) for all vessels. The regulations apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above, and are expected to enter into force internationally on 1 January 2013.

By 2020, an average of 150 million tonnes (Mt) of annual CO2 reductions are estimated from the introduction of these measures, a figure that by 2030 will increase to 330 Mt. Compared to BAU, annual reductions in CO2 emissions and fuel consumed are estimated at between 13 and 23 per cent by 2020 and 2030, respectively.

These reductions translate into annual fuel cost savings of about US$50 billion in 2020 and about US$200 billion by 2030; using fuel price increase scenarios that take into account the switch to low-sulphur distillate fuel in 2020.

Despite the emission reduction potential resulting from EEDI and SEEMP regulations, the authors conclude that an absolute reduction in shipping's total CO2 emissions from the 2010 level appears not to be feasible with these two measures alone. For all scenarios, the projected growth in world trade outweighs the achieved emission reduction.

Source: IMO press release, 14 November 2011 Assessment of IMO mandated energy efficiency measures for international shipping. Estimated CO2 emission reductions from the introduction of mandatory technical and operational energy efficiency measures for ships. Report MEPC 63/INF.2 (31 October, 2011). By Lloyd's Register and DNV. Available at: www.imo.org

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