The European Commission’s decision on publicising data relating to the carbon emission performance of individual vessels resulted to mixed reactions as shipowners’ concern stems from the perceived simplicity of the data; that the data fails to acknowledge additional factors affecting efficiency such as cargo and weather. To drive the kind of systemic change that shipping needs to achieve to reduce its emissions sustainably will however require levels of transparency far beyond what shipping is currently used to.
EC is of the opinion that publishing this kind of data will reduce carbon emission pollution through influencing the industry to increase ship efficiency and develop more environmentally compliant vessels.
Risto-Juhani Kariranta, NAPA’s Director Services, informs that although the EC has collected these data, the legitimacy of such data in representing a vessel’s true efficiency remain questionable.
For instance, Roar Adland, professor at Norwegian School of Economics, posed the question: Is it justifiable for consumers to perceive ships with higher emissions as inherently bad without fully understanding the reasoning behind the data?
Thus, Dr Adland supports that the industry could achieve emissions’ reduction in smaller changes, as applying a first-come-first serve principle in ports, aligning demurrage rates and encouraging charterers to work with owners to get emissions and costs down would be a valuable means of influencing the industry.
In addition, Mr Kariranta comments
The EC’s MRV is one of the only forms of emissions measurement that is currently globally applicable – and, to my mind, only the first necessary step of many that need to be taken.
He continued that the simple nature of EU-MRV provides the opportunity to facilitate, encourage and build emission-incentivised innovations and solutions around optimising vessel efficiency.
He, moreover, hopes that public access to ship emissions data will lead to enhancing the way ship owners and charterers approach emissions. The benefit of the tax is that it simply affects the harmful emissions but does not restrict in any ways the means how to achieve this goal: such mechanism incentivises all the ways to reduce those including also those mentioned and therefore leaves the ‘market’ free for the best inventions and conventions to handle that.
Yet, taxes are not the only incentive, as an emission quota trading scheme could present more benefits in reducing emissions than a fixed tax, keeping in mind the example of the Nordic-Baltic region, this mechanism has worked well in electricity production: disincentivising the use of highly polluting power plants.
Mr Kariranta concluded that through debating and collaborating on these initiatives, questions are increased, which in turn lead to the most effective solutions. As evidenced with technologies such as NAPA Fleet Intelligence, which currently combines data on weather, fuel consumption and cargo to increase vessel efficiency, the question is as much about digital solutions as whether the industry is ready to embrace change when it comes to data transparency and collaboration.