Sharp surge in shipping emissions predicted amid Red Sea crisis

Sharp surge in shipping emissions predicted amid Red Sea crisis

Port Technology — 2024-01-24

Maritime and Ports

Sea-Intelligence has predicted that maritime companies’ Carbon Dioxide emissions would rise as a result of the ongoing Red Sea crisis.

According to Sea-Intelligence, there are three factors to consider: longer sailing lengths result in increased emissions, as do higher sailing speeds (to sustain weekly departures) and a shift from big vessels to smaller, less fuel-efficient vessels.

Sea-Intelligence used a proxy container service to estimate the size of these increases in Carbon Dioxide emissions.

If shipping lines utilise the same vessels at the same speeds, emissions grow in a 1:1 ratio as sailing distances increase.

As sailing distances around Africa are on average 31% and 66% longer than those from Asia to North Europe and the Mediterranean, Carbon Dioxide emissions will rise, at the very least.

If the vessels sail faster, Sea-Intelligence predicts that emissions will rise even more, because fuel consumption is not a linear function of sailing speed.

For example, according to the firm’s fuel consumption model, a one-knot increase in speed from 16 to 17 knots increases emissions by 14%.

Finally, as shipping lines scramble to phase in additional capacity to cater for the longer sailing distance, Sea-Intelligence witnessed smaller, less fuel-efficient vessels being deployed on Asia-Europe.

On a TEU basis, some of these smaller vessels emit 141% more Carbon Dioxide than standard ULCVs.

Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence, said: “Putting all three components together, could lead to Carbon Dioxide emissions increases of 260% and 354%, to North Europe and Mediterranean, respectively.

“There is no realistic way to mitigate the increased emissions, at the very least those that are due to an increase in sailing distances.”