The formation of SEAaT (Shipping Emissions Abatement and Trading), and the success of its first steering committee meeti
ng in Brussels recently, marks the confirmation of a major commitment by the shipping industry to seeking
proactive and imaginative solutions to reducing exhaust emissions to air.
Shipping is regarded as a benign and efficient transport mode, and is still a relatively small emitter of air pollution compared with land-based
sources. But, as emissions from land-based sources fall in response to European legislation, the proportion of the whole from shipping will
increase. And if the question of air pollution from
marine sources is not addressed, shipping can expect to lose some of its market share to other forms of transport.
Sanctioned by an industry emissions trading conference held in June this year, SEAaT represents a recognition by the shipping industry that it can find cost-effective solutions to the environmental challenges of air quality
and pollution emissions which can meet the aspirations of all those involved.
The focus of the current legislative proposals at the EU and IMO is to limit the sulphur content of fuels consumed. SEAaT supports complementary controls over actual emissions, enabling innovation in reduction technologies and
offering greater future environmental benefit in a way that rewards and encourages those who behave responsibly.
SEAaT considers that technical abatement is a further way of reducing harmful emissions, and one that, in conjunction with an emissions trading
scheme, offers the shipping industry an effective and equitable way of meeting its environmental responsibilities.
Progress has been made towards achieving the ambitions of SEAaT. A recent series of meetings held in Northern Europe elicited an overwhelmingly
positive response and agreement by shipowners and industry trade associations alike to enter into the endeavors and aims of SEAaT. More meetings are planned throughout Europe to ensure that participation is truly representative of the whole shipping community.