“I think it is good time to start thinking about the GHG emissions target which IMO has set us. Their vision is to reduce GHG emissions by 50% in 2050. compared to 2008 and they want a lot further than that and said they wanted us to phase it out completely and they want us to do it quickly as possible,” Stopford told the tanker shipping session at the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference (ALMC) in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
He questioned though whether people in the tanker industry were thinking about this and taking the issue seriously at present. Relating having attended a meeting of experts on the issue in London a year earlier Stopford said: “One of the big concerns I was left with was we talk about it till 2049 and start doing something about it on 1 January 2049, and I really think that is one of the issues.”
Explaining the scale of the task the IMO 2050 target calls for shipping's GHG emissions to be reduced to 470m tonnes a year. “If you go on with trends we have had recently, at the moment our emissions are less than 1,000m tonnes a year and by 2050 if we don't do anything we will be producing 3,000m tonnes of carbon emissions.”
Stopford urged the tanker sector to start working on meet the GHG reduction target now. “I think the tanker industry should lead the way on this, we should start to look at ways of working with our customers the energy industry towards finding ways to really implement this vision.”
So how can this be achieved? Well Stopford said it would not be through more efficient diesel engines which had already hit their thermal dynamic peak, or from hull design with the naval architects cupboard already bare.
Instead there were three things industry could do. First is to transport less cargo noting that the scenario assuming a 3.2% annual cargo growth. “We could very well find if we look at the way we are transporting cargo we could reduce the growth rate to 2.2% but with much higher value-added services in tanker contracting,” he said.
Secondly, slow steaming down a to a speed of 10.1 knots, and seeking economies of scale from what he termed “bigger smaller ships” such as bundling four 15,000 dwt cargoes into a 60,000 dwt ship.
Lastly was using new fuel types and the model of reaching the IMO's 2050 saw ships with fuel cells starting being ordered in 2025, intially 10% of the fleet rising to 50% in 2050.
The ALMC conference is part of Hong Kong Maritime Week.