Shipping and Climate Change

World Maritime Day - Investment in new ships on the Australian coastal trades could make a significant contribution to carbon emission reduction as well as enabling Australia to cope with the tripling of the national freight task by 2050.

As maritime workers celebrated World Maritime Day’s theme of Shipping and Climate Change by marching to the National Maritime Museum, they emphasised that new ships would bring even greater energy efficiency and CO2 reductions to the national freight industry.

“With a package of incentives to revitalise shipping being considered by Government, shipping’s record as a more modest carbon emitter is a compelling reason for new incentives for investment in new ships”, said Mick Doleman, assistant national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia.

“Shipping is universally accepted as having the lowest energy and emissions intensity of any of the freight transport modes. It accounts for more than 20 per cent of the freight task but only 4 per cent of emissions.

“There will be an opportunity for all freight modes to increase their market share, even with an emissions trading scheme, but it is predicted there will be some shift in modal share to rail and sea as a result of carbon pollution abatement measures.

“The potential for emissions reductions has been severely hampered by our ageing fleet, care of the neglect by the previous government, but there is a chance now to move with the international mood for a progressive reduction in carbon emissions through shipping.

“The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) believes there is range of technologies available that could reduce the emissions from new ships, per tonne/mile, by 15 to 25 per cent, depending on the ship type and size.

“We’re watching the progress of the IMO as it looks to regulate shipping at the global level to contribute to the deceleration of climate change, including an Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships and a Ship Energy Management Plan for all ships.

Mr Doleman also recognised the sacrifice of seafarers and merchant mariners during wartime conflicts involving Australia, particularly during World War 2.

“The merchant marine were an integral part of the Australian navy and defence forces. I think sometimes they were taken for granted,but they never failed their country and many paid the ultimate sacrifice”, he said.    

Media Contact: Mick Doleman  0418 391528