The United Arabs Emirates Shipping Association, a representative body for UAE-based commercial shipping, is supporting the efforts of the UN, IMO, and UAE Ministry of Environment and Water and DMCA in advocating for a global and open verifiable emissions trading program. One of the challenges that face the marine industry is reconciling their global reach with local expectations. As of the last IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting there is no globally accepted or approved method or protocol to assign and include shipping in national or transnational carbon emissions reduction process.
Ahmed Al Ghurair, President of the UAE Association stated “The UAE shipping industry recognizes that shipping, which carries 90 per cent of all world trade – and 95 per cent of the UAE’s trade –, must make a significant contribution in the battle to reduce mankind’s carbon emissions.”
Al Ghurair added: “The carbon cost of carrying a ton of freight by ship is 10 times less than by road – and 100 times less than by air. Shipping is by far the most carbon-friendly mode of transport. However, because of the sheer volume of seaborne freight, shipping does produce nearly three per cent of total emissions. We need to take whatever action is needed to try to limit those emissions that have a direct daily impact on the quality of our lives, our families’ health and the health of the environment.”
Ships, by their very nature, move between countries (sometimes never even visiting their countries of ownership). This raises challenging questions about the allocation of ship’s emissions. Ships can also easily be moved between jurisdictions to avoid air emissions such as carbon regulation unless that regulation is applied regionally or internationally.
According to Juma Mubarak CEO of Mubarak Marine “What is clear is that the industry has made significant improvements; there have been continuous improvements in fuel usage (and therefore carbon emissions) efficiency through economies of scale are vital. We are steadily applying new engine technologies and running on economic speeds to burn more efficiently giving efficiencies to our services and value to our clients. As technologies advance and equipment improves, smaller vessel owners like us are continually able to change out old technologies and build with the most advanced methods for reducing our environmental impact. We all recognize we can do better; and we all look forward to engaging with our partners to make our industry a leader in environmental innovation. “ Mubarak operates over thirty vessels flying the UAE flag.
Emarat Shipping’s Captain Misra added that any standard should emphasize the industries low carbon potential and the concept of carbon distance. According to Misra the carbon distance takes into account the distance traveled, emissions produced and the value of the service provided.
“Innovation in sustainable shipping will be critical to solve the climate crisis and our members are stepping up to meet the challenge. This initiative is a testament to the fact that the UAE government sees businesses as solution providers.”
The UAE Shipping Association supports the IMO initiatives in creating a goal based ship design index which will encourage technical innovation for new ships. Moreover, the recent efforts by the shipping community to revisit operational parameters from slippery bottom coatings, air cushion streaming, to voluntary usage of more environmental friendly fuels and lube oils will move the industry to further improvements.
Amer Ali Executive Director of the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government entity in charge of regulating and supervising all aspects of the maritime sector in Dubai, and one of the founding members of the association, said: “As the sole maritime authority in Dubai, DMCA’s strategy is based on collaboration and partnership with all the government and non-government entities operating in the maritime sector in the Emirate, because we realize and appreciate the significant role all of them play in pushing the maritime sector forward. And in line with DMCA’s vision to create a vibrant and safe maritime environment in Dubai, we will continue to work very closely with the public and private sector stakeholders to foster a better understanding of the maritime sector efforts to minimize the industry’s environmental footprint.”