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Shipping expert calls urges Australia to follow EU emissions-reducing practices

Calls To Follow Eu On Emissions Reductions In Shipping

A shipping expert with more than two decades of industry experience has made a bold call to the Australian Government to consider following in the footsteps of the European Union in forcing shipping companies to adopt emissions-reducing practices.

Brian Hack, Managing Director of EES Shipping, one of Australia’s major international freight forwarders, says this needs to happen to ensure smaller businesses aren’t disadvantaged by adopting ‘green’ practices.

The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) will include emissions produced by maritime transport as of 2024. Shipping companies will be required to pay for emissions caused by ships carrying cargo or passengers for commercial purposes.

The Australian Government’s consultation paper looking at how to develop a Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan (MERNAP) is due to be published this month.

Mr Hack says the plan must protect companies that might otherwise face competitive disadvantage for trying to create positive change.

“For the most part, introducing emissions-reduction measures costs money. And while there are some companies who want to do the right thing by the planet, the reality is that unless they’re a big corporate giant, they really can’t afford to absorb the added cost,” Mr Hack said. 

“If it’s then passed onto the consumer, in the current economic climate that puts those businesses at real competitive disadvantage.”

Mr Hack says unfortunately, consumer sentiment isn’t currently at a point where carbon-footprint is the top priority.

“With interest rates continuing to rise, and cost of living and cost of doing business a key consideration, companies are ultimately looking at what is the cheapest option to ship their products to Australia,” he said. 

Mr Hack says the Federal Government has an opportunity to even the playing field.

“A similar scheme to what we’re seeing in the EU would spread the cost implications more evenly, rather than just leaving it up to individual businesses to decide if and when they’ll adopt greener practices.” 

Mr Hack says there are a number of emissions-reducing measures currently being considered by the shipping industry globally;

  • Alternative Fuels: The industry is considering the use of various alternative fuels, including LNG, biofuels, low-sulphur fuels and hydrogen.
  • Slow Steaming: Vessels are operated at lower speeds to reduce fuel consumption and overall emissions. 
  • Wind Technology: Some shipping companies are looking at wind-assisted technologies on their vessels – similar to old-fashioned sails – in order to reduce fuel consumption and once again, overall emissions.
  • Newer Vessels: Replacing older, less efficient vessels with newer ships that are more technologically advanced will also play a role in reducing emissions.

Mr Hack says Australia has an opportunity to step up and take real action in the sustainability space.

“While all the talk about added costs and extra regulation sounds negative, we have to remember it’s for a positive outcome,” he said. 

“Ultimately, what is the legacy we are leaving behind for our kids? We have to start creating opportunities to make meaningful impact, and push for change.”

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