Green Shipping, a new sustainable approach to the modern shipping industry

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Maritime shipping is an excellent way to transportation of heavy cargo over long distances. Nonetheless, it became a great concern to environmentalists due to the water, air, and soil pollution it produces. Green Shipping is by far the best solution to diminish this situation. Read more.

Green Shipping is the initiative that will allow more modern shipping, by reducing costs and environmental impacts.

The shipping industry is responsible for 2.6% of the world's total CO2 emissions, besides producing 5.25 million plastic particles that pollute the world's oceans.

Not to mention accidents involving lost shipping containers, when their waste can poison the oceans. The increase of volume of cargo traffic in global logistics has increased by 101% in the last 20 years. 

The International Maritime Organization has set maximum limits on exhaust gas and sulfur emissions.

For the good of the marine ecosystem, Green Shipping is being put into practice.

In the United States, an environmental certification called "Green Marine" has been created.  This is a voluntary initiative that helps its applicants to improve the environmental performance of the shipping industry, i.e., the control of emissions of pollutants into the air, land, and especially water, due to ballast water. 

What is ballast water?

Ballast water is the name given to seawater, which is collected and stored by ships to ensure its stability.

This collected seawater is necessary for the ship to maintain its plumb when unloading, otherwise, there is a great risk of sinking or breaking apart. In other words, ships use ballast water to ensure their stability, operational safety, and efficiency.

However, there is an issue that may affect the health of people and the survival of many marine species.

The dark side of ballast water

Filling the ship's tanks and then emptying them elsewhere can cause serious environmental and human health impacts due to the insertion of non-native microorganisms, such as cholera outbreaks, the spread of the golden mussel, as well as causing clogging problems in ships, pipelines, and hydroelectric power plants. New technologies can avoid this negative side of ballast water.

Green tech to overcome ballast water hazards and avoid other obstacles

The best strategy to reduce the environmental and health impacts caused by ballast water

The replacement of ballast tanks with structural longitudinal "tubes" allows their suction from the bow and discharge from the stern. In this way, a constant flow of salt water is generated, avoiding the accumulation of debris or microorganisms of unknown origin.

Any vessel, new or old, can receive this green tech

The equipment will enable the necessary pressure to generate the ideal stability according to the weight of the cargo on board. This is one of the main applications of green technology to end the problem of ballast water in the current molds. 

The standard established to control ballast water requires the exchange and release of at least 95 percent of ballast water away from the shore in order to prevent the discharge of pathogens.   

The green corridors

Green corridors are new sea routes to facilitate the decarbonization of maritime shipping.

Those pre-mapped routes are mostly located in the major port centers of the Zero Emission AreasThey also ensure stronger partnerships between cargo ship owners, fuel producers, and ship operators.

Other interactive goals of green corridors:  

  • Selected regions in the oceans, aggregating the joint implementation of new technologies, clean fuels, and innovative business models.

  • Expansion of ecological programs, such as the Zero Emission Areas program, as well as the mapping of maritime areas of environmental impact, aiming to expand and divert the routes of ships that are part of Green Shipping.

  • Implementation of economic incentive projects, aiming at fomenting and regulating the commerce of the coastal cities, and encouraging public and private sector partnerships with the naval industry.

  • Manufacture of ships with zero emissions because they use clean energy, such as green hydrogen, solar energy, wind energy, or nuclear energy as propulsion sources.

"In addition to these benefits, Green Shipping will implement other projects such as port management and equipment life cycle management with a view to the circular economy. The success of the projects will also depend on the effectiveness of legislation supported by port authorities and coastal communities that depend on this economy.", notes Johanna Aromaa, Market Intelligence Manager at Wärtsilä Marine Business.

Conclusion

Because of the Green Shipping initiative, global shipping has favorable prospects when it comes to controlling air, land, and water pollution. The scenario, once worrying, is now optimistic.

The path is mapped out. The trend is a more sustainable shipping industry with less environmental impact. All this is at an accessible cost. New and good winds are indeed blowing towards the environment!

By Marco Veado - THINK GREEN