It is a universally accepted and proven fact that international shipping leaves a huge footprint on the environment. In fact, around 90 percent of the goods consumed by UK are imported, and most of them are brought in the nation via sea freight. These goods not only include consumer items, but also trainers, TVs, iPhones, dry bulk cargo, coal for the power stations, timber, grain and so on. All these things justify the fact that the global shipping sector is alone responsible for nearly 1 billion tonnes of emissions every year.
However, when the environmental impact of other freight services are taken into account, sea freight shipping services seem to be significantly less harmful and more eco-friendly. From a recent study, it has been found that a small freight ship carrying 2 tonnes over 5000 kilometres generates 150 kg of carbon dioxide. However, a cargo plane covering the same distance and bearing the same load releases 6605 kg of carbon dioxide. But still, it is not likely that importers can guarantee small ships, since huge cargo vessels are all the fad right now, and they use a lot of fuel. Besides that, certain shipping lines refrain from using emission-control zones that have been established for reducing sulphur emissions.
Nevertheless, there are a number environment friendly ships existing all over the world. And the first ever solar-powered cargo vessel already set sail in 2009. But if the huge capital investment in shipping is taken into account, then it can be very easily concluded that owners won’t want to scrap out old ships quickly.
In between the time period from 2007 to 2012, a significant decrease in emissions was seen when recession containers gradually slowed down for saving fuel. Prior to economic crash, cargo ships travelled at the speed of 24 knots, but that got reduced to 16 knots later on. However, with recovery of economy, the speed has reverted back to original, which are making many experts speculate that emissions from the shipping industry may rise by nearly 250 percent within 2050. Still the good news is that shipping companies all over the world are already being pressurised to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions. With the current revolution in sea freight sector and implementation of eco-friendly measures to combat pollution from international shipping, the day is not far when cargo ships won’t be a considered a threat to the environment anymore.