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admin | Category: Shipping Storage Containers | 26.10.2013
With new limits on sulphur emissions coming into force for much of northern Europe and North America next year, shipping operators are trying to comply in ways as sustainable for costs as for the environment. The regulations were first prescribed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a branch of the United Nations, and have since been transposed by the European Union. The technological challenge faced by shipowners and operators will depend on which of the three main approaches they choose to meet the new regulations. According to a recent survey by Denmark-based Shipping Watch, most carriers are currently moving toward the low-sulphur fuel option. WWL will meet compliance in 2015 with low sulphur fuel, but will also trial scrubber technologyThe remainder of the WWL fleet will comply by using exhaust gas cleaners – the scrubbers.
Crowley is building the world’s first LNG-powered con-ro ship, which will serve the US and Puerto RicoIn spite of the high initial costs, one company has decided to go further by commissioning ships run solely on LNG. According to Tucker Gilliam, vice-president for special projects at Crowley, the new vessels will set a new standard for environmentally responsible shipping. Another company eyeing shipping’s environmental impacts is Nissan Motor Car Carrier (a shipping line owned by Nissan and MOL), which launched an energy-efficient ro-ro car-carrier called the Nichioh Maru in early 2012. According to Hinds, the ship can reduce fuel by up to nearly 1,400 tonnes annually compared to similar-sized ro-ro ships, which is a reduction of 4,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, from an industry perspective, Strevens warns that compliance with the current sulphur and emission regulations are already at the point where the costs cannot be absorbed, and must instead be passed on to cargo owners.
According to Merijn Hougee, interim director at the Clean Shipping Index, the CSI takes into account CO2 emissions, sulphur and particulate matter emissions, noxious emissions, chemical products and waste water.
Volkswagen is among the latest to join the Clean Shipping Network, allowing it to better understand shipping emissionsShipowners complete 20 questions on a vessel’s operational impact.
The final index score is the total average score multiplied with the percentage of reported ships of the total owned or managed fleet. Companies can also join the Clean Shipping Network, which gives them access to detailed emission information of ships and carriers and enables them to compare the environmental performance of ships and shipping companies. According to Hougee, the programme demands that shipowners report at least 90% of their owned fleet into our database and have vessels verified by an independent third party.

In light of the ongoing concerns about the costs of technological adaptation, Antonissen says some shipping lines have lobbied policymakers to postpone the 2015 deadline by at least two years. WWL’s Strevens calls for tougher enforcement, particularly in Europe, to ensure the playing field is as level as possible. To receive weekly updates of global automotive logistics, please subscribe to our free newsletter.
Shipping lines also face a number of uncertainties and risks, including questions over how the rules will be enforced and penalised, and whether or not enough compliant fuels will be available. This is also the case at deep-sea carrier WWL, which will bring most its vessels into compliance by 2015 with an MGO. He warns, however, that the cost of retrofitting existing vessels is similar to installing scrubbers, while older vessels cannot be retro-fitted at all.
In November 2013, US-based shipping firm Crowley announced that it had signed a contract with VT Halter Marine to build two of the world’s first LNG-powered, combination container and ro-ro (con-ro) ships.
In his view, this is largely because oil refineries, which tend to consider both fuels as almost the same product, have yet to signal any intent to boost their capacities.
A new breed of software packages such as ClassNK NAPA GREEN and the Clean Shipping Index (CSI) provide cargo owners with tools to evaluate their environmental performance. The information is then entered on a ship-by-ship basis, but is also added to the total carrier fleet score for an overall ranking.
Data can be analysed much more detailed, such as going down to the level of noxious emissions for a single engine or stern tube oil usage on a single ship. The idea to catalyse sustainable development through cargo owners arose from the influence large paper company Stora Enso has on their providers of sea transport, such as Wagenborg Shipping," says Hougee. Volvo Group Logistics Services, Volkswagen Group Logistics and Scania are already members of the network and consider the environmental data in their procurement processes.
He reveals that there has also been some talk of relaxing the enforcement obligation of EU member states, largely because questions remain about how they will patrol the emission zones, given existing 0.1% sulphur limit in ports. However, according to Antonissen many stakeholders believe this toolbox is empty as it lacks the necessary funding.

We can only hope that the regulators will learn the right lessons and come up with more realistic future policies that take the situation of all stakeholders into account," he adds. However, one significant company going the scrubber route is Copenhagen-based DFDS, which runs most of its routes in the Baltic and North Sea emission control areas. It operates on the main maritime route in Japan between the Kanto (Oppama), Kinki (Kobe), Chugoku (Okayama) and Kyushu (Kanda) regions. We are currently discussing with several car companies about CSI membership," he says. Effectively, authorities would need to test sulphur fuel emissions out on the seas rather than only when ships are in harbour.
Antonissen is hoping that the dialogue between stakeholders and regulators will lead to better partnership, but he expresses concern about the potential for even stricter regulations.
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There are also fears that short-sea shipping will lose market share to other transport modes. Nevertheless, Strevens adds that low- and high-sulphur fuel differ operationally, and switching between them can lead to problems if managed poorly. DFDS has already announced intentions to install scrubbers on 12 of its ships before the end of this year, with more installations planned for 2015.
He stresses, however, that WWL has experience of such a switch since it has been required in Californian waters for several years. With a fleet of around 50 ships, it’s an investment that could top $100m, according to a source at the shipping line.

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