This initiative was undertaken to better gauge Green Marine’s impact since the environmental program’s launch 10 years ago. The ship owners that provided data for this voluntary initiative represent more than 250 vessels of various types, including: tug, passenger and cargo ferry, bulk, self-unloading, tank, container, and articulated tug barge.

“It is the first time this kind of reporting exercise has been done by such a diversified group of ship owners,” says Dr. Eleanor Kirtley, Green Marine’s West Coast program manager who spearheaded the initiative.

Participants had to provide emissions data from a baseline year and from 2016. They subsequently each calculated their average GHG emissions for a period varying from two to eight years.

“We decided to aggregate the results by percentage of reduction since it was the only common metric for every type of ship owner,” Mr. Kirtley explains, adding that ship owners use different accepted methods of measurement, with some reporting emissions per unit of time, while others do so per tons of cargo or per unit of traffic work.

To reach an average annual reduction of 1.4%, the shipping companies had to implement significant changes to their operations, such as hull cleaning and propeller polishing, weather routing, loading for trim optimization, voluntary speed reductions, and preventive engine maintenance. The energy performance plan that is required from each ship owner to qualify for Green Marine certification must include quantifiable reduction targets. Many of the ship owners are investing billions of dollars in fleet renewal for vessels that are substantially more efficient.

Established in 2007, Green Marine is a North American environmental certification program for the maritime transportation industry, stemming from the industry’s voluntary initiative to surpass regulatory requirements. There are currently more than 115 companies participating in the program throughout Canada and US.