Speeding Fines For Freight Ships?

The youth today seem to be split into two firm categories.

The screen-zombies who spend the majority of their time on their phones and Xboxes, obsessed with reaching the next game level or getting more likes on Instagram.

And the switched on, inspired kids who have used the internet to educate themselves and are passionate about shaping the world they live in.

It’s a fascinating time to live in.

Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with shipping? But bear with me.

There’s been some interesting things happening here in the UK. No, not Brexit. There is more happening here than that!

Over the last few months, there have been multiple demonstrations about climate change.

The funniest one for sure was the 12 people who stormed parliament in the nude, body painted with messages about global warming. You’ve gotta love the Brits!

But what has really caught my eye is that several of the highly publicised demonstrations have been headed up by school-aged kids, some as young as 8 or 9. They’re unhappy with what we’re doing to the environment and are campaigning to make changes to secure their future.

It’s pretty impressive.

So what’s that got to do with shipping?

Well, unfortunately, the freight industry is a big contributor to pollution with its high GHG emissions.

Until technology moves on enough to create freight ships powered by clean energy sources some pollution is unavoidable. But we’re a long way off that yet.

So what’s the solution?

France thinks they have the answer.

The proposals they submitted last month call for a two-step approach of short-term measures to cut GHG emissions in shipping.
They include regulating ship speeds on a sector by sector basis, followed by the adoption of globally applicable annual emissions caps based on each ship’s output.

So basically it’s a speed limit for ships.

Now, I can see how someone who isn’t involved in freight can think this is a good idea. Ships use more fuel when they go faster, so let’s slow them down to reduce consumption and therefore lower emissions.

But in reality that isn’t going to work.

Both Maersk and Hapaag-Lloyd have objected to the proposals, suggesting that such restrictions would not only severely impact their delivery times but would also put a huge strain on the companies economic health, in turn jeopardising their future and the jobs of all those employed by them.

Instead, their suggestion is to encourage the investment into more fuel-efficient ships and to penalise those companies who fail to use complaint fuels.

One environmental source says we should be taking any and all action possible to reduce C02 emissions immediately.

“According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, if global warming gets out of control we are likely to see regular flooding of cities, mass crop failure, disruption of shipping routes and key choke-points such as the Panama Canal and migration on a scale of millions, in which case container shipping as a business would no longer exist in its current form anyway.”

Now, I’m no expert on global warming and I don’t know what the right course of action is. But I do know shipping. And introducing speed limits could be a disaster.

What do you think?