Establishing a benchmark to reduce emissions

Wayne Blumenthal
Wayne Blumenthal
RightShip's GHG Rating compares a ship’s theoretical CO2 emissions relative to peer vessels of a similar size and type
RightShip's GHG Rating compares a ship’s theoretical CO2 emissions relative to peer vessels of a similar size and type
The GHG Rating is proving to be a powerful tool for ports looking to evaluate and reward efficient vessels through port incentive programmes
The GHG Rating is proving to be a powerful tool for ports looking to evaluate and reward efficient vessels through port incentive programmes
RightShip can effectively calculate the theoretical fuel consumption and the equivalent carbon emissions for each individual ship voyage
RightShip can effectively calculate the theoretical fuel consumption and the equivalent carbon emissions for each individual ship voyage
Industry Database

Many of the world’s 3,000 plus port cities have poor air quality. Whilst much of that may be down to industrial activities in the area, including rail and air transport, ship and terminal activities can also be significant contributors to poor air quality, writes Wayne Blumenthal, commercial & strategic manager, RightShip.

Increasingly, shipping emissions are believed to be contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.  It’s only by measuring emissions that port authorities and regulators can establish a benchmark from which to take action to manage and reduce them.

GHG emissions measurements

In 2011, RightShip developed its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Rating.  This easy-to-use tool contains information on more than 76,000 ocean-going vessels and is publicly accessible via www.shippingefficiency.org, or through RightShip’s online vetting platform RightShip Qi.

The GHG Rating compares a ship’s theoretical CO2 emissions relative to peer vessels of a similar size and type, using an easy to interpret A - G scale.  It also compares newbuilds with existing ships, promoting greater transparency across the industry.

As of December 2017, 86 organisations were using the GHG Rating for vessel selection. This includes 55 charterers who represent 20% of global trade, or roughly 31,500 vessel movements each year that carry up to 2.4 billion tonnes of cargo.

The GHG Rating is proving to be a powerful tool for ports looking to evaluate and reward efficient vessels through port incentive programmes, encouraging the reduction of CO2 emissions and other pollutants both within the port environs as well as for the vessel’s entire journey.

Two such ports are Canada’s Port Metro Vancouver and Prince Rupert Port Authority who both use the GHG Rating to offer incentives for more efficient ships through their port incentive programmes.

The core measure for comparing the relative efficiency of the world’s fleet is grams of CO2 per tonne nautical mile. RightShip uses one of two sources when determining an individual vessel’s efficiency: The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which is a regulatory requirement developed by the IMO for new ships (and applied on an ad-hoc basis to existing vessels); or the Existing Vessel Design Index (EVDI), which is based on the EEDI, and has been developed by RightShip. The EVDI can be applied to existing vessels as well as new builds (where EEDI is not available/applicable).  As the two methods compare relative efficiency on the same basis, a like-for-like comparison of efficiency is possible.

Measuring scope three emissions

Leading on from this, blue-chip companies increasingly want to measure their supply chain emissions to effectively manage and reduce their emissions through every step of the process, from production to delivery and consumption.

To support this, RightShip has now launched a verified Carbon Accounting tool to measure the scope three emissions from shipping, which can easily be incorporated into a corporate climate change strategy.

Carbon emissions can be divided into three groups. Scope one emissions come from a company’s vehicles and equipment, stationary combustion, wastewater treatments and on-site landfill.  Scope two arise from the generation of electricity, heat or steam purchased by a company, whilst scope three are derived from sources not owned or directly controlled by, but related to a company’s operations. These are more difficult to identify and quantify, and this is where shipping struggles to account for their emissions activity.

Scope three emissions can include the emissions created by employees travelling to work; flying oversees to attend a meeting… or the emissions associated with maintaining a logistics chain, such as shipping.

Using basic information such as the vessel name, fuel-type, cargo and voyage details from the charterer and the environmental information from RightShip’s GHG Rating, RightShip can now effectively calculate the theoretical fuel consumption and the equivalent carbon emissions for each individual ship voyage.

These carbon accounting calculations are robust and verifiable, but RightShip plans further refinements. These include measuring the emissions resulting from time spent in port, the time spent engaged in cargo handling activities, as well as calculating and attributing emissions to part-cargoes or even individual boxes carried on larger containerships.

CASE STUDY: IPL 

One of the first companies to test RightShip’s scope 3 process was the Australian diversified chemicals manufacturer, Incitec Pivot Ltd (IPL). This global company charters more than 200 bulkers and tankers each year to import raw materials and to move its products.

IPL already monitors and reports its scope 1 and 2 emissions under the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) but wanted to expand its efforts to include those that fall under scope 3. As a major user of ocean transport, emissions from its shipping activities were considered significant.

Fortunately, IPL is a RightShip customer and a regular user of the EVDI and so it was an easy process for them to enlist RightShip’s expertise for this project.

As a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, IPL was extremely keen to identify a robust and verifiable process that was also simple and flexible to implement. Working with IPL, RightShip identified IPL vessel charters over a 12-month period and took basic details to combine with its own proprietary data to calculate the emissions per voyage and the total emissions for the year.

This has been a significant step for IPL which otherwise would have taken a general “average emissions per ship” number in an attempt to quantify its ocean transport impact.

From working with RightShip, IPL now understands that its shipping activities are responsible for generating around 74,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. Armed with this number, the company can take steps to ensure it works actively to contain and reduce their emissions. As an avid supporter of chartering ships with a high RightShip GHG Rating, RightShip is currently calculating how much CO2 has been saved by IPL employing this policy.

Karen Durand, Corporate Sustainability Manager at IPL believes that being able to measure the company’s scope 3 emissions is the first step towards effective control and management.

We’ve used RightShip to ensure the vessels we use are safe and environmentally sound and so it was a logical step to ask them to help us measure our scope 3 emissions,” she says

“Working with them is very straightforward and we are confident in the accuracy and reliability of the results. There are very few scope 3 data sources and, as far as we are aware, there is no other agency able to deliver this level of accuracy for ocean transport.”

Maritime Emissions Portal

Working in conjunction with environmental non-profit the Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA), RightShip is also supporting the launch of a Maritime Emissions Portal.

Using satellite tracking and a big data approach, the platform will enable ports and their stakeholders to measure air quality and changing air patterns throughout the port environs and will help to reduce the impact of ship emissions on the health of port communities and the environment.

It does this by providing real-time data on air emissions such as CO2, SOx, NOx and the particulate matter of the individual vessels that visit the port. It can incorporate a number of different data sources and stakeholders can tailor the reporting to their needs.

For example, a large vessel in Sydney Harbour could be tracked through the portal using satellite tracking in the form of AIS data, which monitors the movement of the ship through the port. This can be matched with the GHG Rating data to see how much CO2 it is emitting, before being overlaid with data relating to the NOX, SOX and particulate matter that the vessel emits.

All of this data can then be aggregated and benchmarked, allowing the port to measure changes in emissions over a day, week, month or year.

The portal will have the capacity to measure the air emissions that over 70,000 individual cargo and passenger vessels contribute to the ports they visit, anywhere in the world.  This will provide the users - ports, authorities and local communities – with the data to inform, educate and direct emissions reduction programmes.

The Maritime Emissions Portal was awarded significant funding by Google Impact Challenge in 2016, which enabled AUSMEPA to engage a developer to build the prototype.  This prototype is now ready for the input of trial data, with both Australian and international ports committed to this part of the programme.

In an increasingly transparent world, customers and stakeholders are increasingly keen to understand how individual businesses are impacting on the natural environment. Using these measures, which are independently verified and in compliance with globally accepted international standards, the industry can more effectively measure emissions and take steps to reduce the environmental impact of ocean transportation activities.

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