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MAERSK SHIPPING ~ GLOBAL REGULATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSITION

In this interview at COP 22, with Mr John Kornerup Bang (Head of Positioning, Risk Management and Climate Change ~ Group Sustainability at A.P. Moller Maersk Group) who talks on reducing CO2 emissions from shipping, alternative propulsion energy sources, shipping regulation and innovation.

In response to your question regarding curbing of emissions from the Maritime industry – a lot is being done globally, but also by Maersk shipping themselves, although I think the first point to bear in mind is that there is a lot of pollution, but also a lot of output.
Long-haul shipping is still the most efficient way of transporting, so the challenge we are up against is really a double challenge in that we need to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping, but we also need to sustain the global economy at the same time. How can that be done?
Well, we need to decouple CO2 emissions from economic output – we have set ourselves a stringent target which is 60% reduction per container move by 2020. So far we have done 42% in last nine years and its taking a lot of innovation and investment to do that.

In response to your question re: driving vessel propulsion on alternative energy sources, if it were possible right now to run propulsion from other energy sources, then yes, however, it is not possible in today’s terms, but we are investigating a range of new options for future fuels and we can also see, if we look at the long term curves for CO2 reduction that shipping can have, if its going to contribute to the 2.0 degree target as agreed at Paris Agreement last year, and we believe it should, then shipping needs to find alternative fuels in the the longer term.
In terms of ‘Super-capacitors’, as mentioned, I cannot exclude that that technology will be possible in the future, but also the battery technology for long-haul shipping is not a short term option – it is far from ready, but you also see domestic shipping, e.g. ferries, who are experimenting now with battery technology, indicating a progressive move towards this type of technology on some ships and its a question of investment and innovations. We all know that when new technology starts to really pick up at scale,the costs are reduced very fast and dramatically when they reach the ‘tipping point’, and just like PV’s or solar panels where their pricing has reduced dramatically in just 10 years resulting in a major uptake over next 10-15 years, something similar has to happen on the most promising low carbon technologies for shipping as well.

We are looking into all possibilities that are available in terms of alternate power, e.g. solar, etc, to try to optimise them but they need to be ready enough, to work from a practical level and be commercially viable. If one talks about solar energy and the innovations one sees for building currently, well they are all interesting in the context of shipping, however, for now the solar generation on ships at open sea for long-haul shipping is not one of the first technologies, there are other new fuels like LNG, potential Biofuel and others that are closer in the technology race, but obviously “great innovation” can change that status and Maersk will definitely take all aspects into account when we decide to invest.

In closing, apart from all the technology we think the time is right now, more than ever, for shipping to be regulated globally, which we have been advocating for many years, but with the new SOLAS Roadmap as agreed in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) two weeks ago, we think that this is a big window of opportunity and we are actually urging everybody to help put pressure on that process, so that we get global level playing field regulation, because that will work as an incentive structure to accelerate innovation in those kind of technologies and we need that!

“Regulation will just add an extra driver for innovation and that would be very welcome !”

Links :
http://www.maersk.com/en/the-maersk-group/sustainability/energy-efficiency  (Maersk Promoting Energy Efficiency)
http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/01-IGF.aspx  (New mandatory code for ships using gases or other low-flashpoint fuels)

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