The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) ship classification society has issued a ringing endorsement of the COP21 agreement at the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris.
Speaking at the India Pavilion on the topic ‘GHG Emissions from Indian Shipping – Impact and Mitigating Measures’, Mr. Arun Sharma, CMD, IRClass defended shipping as the most energy efficient mode of transport.
Noting that despite shipping carrying 90% of world trade, shipping contributes only 2.2% of total Green House Gas emissions, he endorsed the ongoing efforts by IMO to keep global warming below 2 degrees centigrade.
Mentioning that the majority of cargo movement within India is by road followed by rail, he stressed the need to shift cargo from the traditional means to the more cost-efficient and low carbon emissions sea mode, which has the lowest GHG emissions amongst all modes of transport.
Acknowledging that movement by sea cannot completely replace road and rail transport, Mr. Sharma argued for the need to choose the most efficient mode for long haul, while relatively shorter first mile and last mile connectivity can be accomplished via other modes.
This multi-modal option will have several advantages:
a. Significant reduction in GHG emissions whilst having minimal impact on the service delivery
b. Lower costs vis-à-vis road and rail
c. Reduction of risk profile as ships are a largely safer means of transport
d. Reducing the burden on the overloaded road sector
Adding further, he said this ‘modal shift’ of cargo achieved a great degree of success thorough the ‘Marco Polo Project’ in Europe, and it could be replicated by adapting to Indian conditions.
He called upon the need to provide a thrust for coastal shipping and inland waterways which has the potential to bring about a significant reduction of GHG emissions.
Addressing the Paris conference, he said: “The mitigation measures available to reduce the emission levels are technical and operational; while technical measures have significant potential for emission reduction requiring initial investment, the operational measures can have an immediate emission reduction, but in incremental measures.”
He said the effective utilisation of the Indian coastline would definitely help reduce the country’s carbon footprint.