Impact Of Maritime Supply Chain On Climate Change


  • Emissions generated by shipping include sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • How does it contribute to climate change?
  • Who is in charge?

Let’s have a look at maritime supply chains emissions.

The GHG Conundrum

An interplay of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) haunts the climate change experts. 

  • SOx: Marine fuels usually contain much higher sulfur compared to fuels used on land. According to analytics from the European Geosciences Union shipping is responsible for approximately 10% of the SOx emitted. Moreover, the emission of SOx contributes in formation of harmful to humans secondary inorganic aerosol gasses. 
  • NOx : Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are toxic gasses which are formed by high-temperature combustion of fuels like oil, diesel and gas. As a catalyst NOx contributes to acid rain and the formation of ground-level ozone, which can harm plants and wildlife. 
  • CO2 : The main source of CO2 emissions in ship operations is the combustion of fossil fuels in main engines, auxiliary engines, boilers and incinerators. CO2 emissions are absorbed by seawater, and cause direct harm to the oceans which generate up to 60% of the oxygen we breathe.

While it’s clear how a combination of SOx and NOx impacts the environment it is important to highlight that immediate reductions of SO2 emissions will contribute to global warming unless CO2 is also reduced at the same time. 

Who is Responsible?

According to international guidelines, shipping emissions produced when a vessel has a voyage between two countries are the responsibility of the UN’s International Maritime Organization. When the ship sails between two ports of the same country, country level regulations are applied, including its reports to the UNFCCC regarding commitments made in the Paris Agreement.

In Europe, to ensure that the maritime transport sector contributes to the EU’s increased climate ambition, the Commission adopted its proposal to extend the scope of the EU’s Emissions Trading System to cover CO2 emissions from large ships (above 5000 gross tonnage), regardless of the flag they fly.

At the same time in 2021 a group of climate-forward companies have announced plans to accelerate decarbonization of the global maritime shipping industry. The nine biggest global businesses including Amazon, Ikea and Unilever signed the ambition statement to only move cargo on ships using zero-carbon fuel by 2040. Global transport buyers hope their joined forces will push the heavily-polluting shipping industry to decarbonize faster. 

Measuring Environmental Impact

We know that without reliable and trusted data you can’t make any systematic change in large industries. Therefore, having a strong focus and expertise in the maritime industry, we help all companies using ocean shipping and maritime supply chains to analyze, monitor and reduce GHG emissions & carbon footprint.

Monitoring and managing GHG emissions and carbon footprint in extended value chains has become a strategic necessity for most companies. And inevitably, a lack of accurate ESG-data sources can be considered foregone business opportunities. 

Accumulating one of the most complex data sets in the industry and applying digital twin technology powered with AI algorithms we are able to ensure the most accurate analytics to identify bottlenecks of the maritime logistics and assess environmental and economic risks for business sustainability.

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Source: MarineDigital


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