An announcement by three large charterers that they will only use vessels deemed to be relatively energy efficient has been attacked by bulk carrier owners’ group Intercargo. Cargill, Huntsman Corporation and UNIPEC UK, who together charter over 350 million tonnes of commodities annually, said that that they would only charter the more efficient vessels operating in the shipping market, claiming that it was the first such commitment to reduce the existing fleet carbon emissions.
The charterers plan to use the Existing Vessel Design Index (EVDI), created by ship vetting specialist RightShip and published on ShippingEfficiency.org – an initiative launched by the Carbon War Room and RightShip, as an greenhouse gas Emissions Rating (A-G rating) benchmarking system. The efficiency ratings system – containing efficiency information on over 60, 000 vessels including container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, cargo ships – enables charterers to instantly see a ship’s theoretical greenhouse gas emissions and relative energy efficiency as determined by RightShip’s EVDI rated from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), compared to ships of similar size and type. Intercargo responded by calling for further dialogue “to ensure that charterers remain connected with on-going environmental IMO discussions.”
A statement said: “Intercargo believes that failure to appreciate the improved energy efficiency legislation work already in progress will marginalise and render Charterers’ proposals obsolete before implementation.”
However, the RightShip chief executive Warwick Norman said “Cargill, Huntsman Corporation and UNIPEC UK have strong commitments to maximise efficiency on environmental grounds, and we are proud to provide them with the decision support tool they need to implement their environmental leadership position. With the common decision making framework first movers will have significant market advantage over competitors who are using traditional methods to evaluate efficiency.
“Without this level of information it’s very difficult for charterers to make informed decisions on vessels based on their efficiency – for example, newer ships aren’t always more efficient than older ships. We’ve developed the Existing Vessel Design Index, or EVDI™, to estimate the amount of CO2 emitted per tonne by any nominated ship, per nautical mile travelled, based on complex analysis of a range of reliable data. With our partners at www.shippingefficiency.org, we’ve used that data to also create the A-G GHG Emissions Rating that makes it easy to compare energy efficiency. The online rating system directly compares the efficiency of a vessel against vessels of comparable size and within the same ship type. This practical, usable information can enable our customers to make fuel savings and meet energy efficiency targets, and their preference for more efficient ships also rewards owners who have invested in operating a sustainable fleet.“ Intercargo’s secretary general Rob Lomas said: “We appreciate charterers’ attempts to supplement their existing methods of selecting and legally contracting vessels on the basis of fuel efficiency, and this is supportable.”
But he continued, “the systems currently being promoted are inaccurate as they may not use the contractually agreed existing fuel consumption figures, and the commonly known ‘refrigerator rating system’ is overly simplistic and has yet to be cleared by IMO.”
Lomas added: “Of course charterers wish to take fuel efficiency into account before chartering vessels as they always have, and the current, challenging market conditions require careful attention to operating costs, including fuel consumption. The market is efficiently weeding out less fuel efficient ships with around 400 bulk carriers scheduled to be recycled this year alone, fleet modernisation and operational measures are already having an impact – what we don’t want is yet another simplistic and inaccurate rating system which fails to take into account the progress made at IMO and which merely loads additional costs into the entire supply chain for no conceivable environmental benefit.”