April/May 2010 will be remembered by millions of people for the disruption to travel around Europe following the persistent ash cloud from the Icelandic Eyjafjallajoekull volcano. News reports tended to focus on the losses of the airlines and the inconvenience caused to travelers, but other sectors suffered as well. The US exported seafood trade and Zambian flower and vegetable growers are good examples of exports that traditionally rely on air transport to get their goods to market in a timely fashion and while some journalists might have gotten a little carried away with the theory that no planes might mean no food, what they failed to mention is that almost 90% of the EU’s external trade and over 40% of internal trade is already transported by sea.
In response to the restriction of flying, British supermarkets swiftly reacted by receiving Kenyan exports in Spain, from where they could be transported by road and sea to UK consumers. These supply chains worked because the sea based infrastructure was already in place.
During the ash cloud crisis, the most focus that the sea received was the news that the Royal Navy was going to be pressed into action to rescue stranded British holiday makers from the continent.
It is reasonable to expect that as the dust settles (no pun intended), commentators will make reference to the fact that shipping actually provides the least environmentally damaging form of commercial transport.
The round table of international shipping associations (BIMCO, Intercargo, International Chamber of Shipping and Intertanko) notes that in terms of CO2 emissions per tonne of cargo transported one mile, shipping is recognised as the most efficient form of commercial transport, however, given the scale of the industry and the vital role in which it plays in international trade, shipping is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Comparison of CO2 emissions between different modes of transport:
|Transport||Grams per tonne-km|
|Cargo vessel over 8,000 dwt||15|
|Cargo vessel 2,000 – 8,000 dwt||21|
|Heavy truck with trailer||50|
|Air freight 747-400 1,200 km flight||540|
Ships come in many different shapes and sizes of course, all having been adapted to the type of cargo that needs transporting. Ship design is an evolving practice as fuel and operational efficiency become the watch words for the modern era.
|eBSI Now Offers Certified Shipping Courses|
eBSI is delighted to announce that we have entered into an agreement with Coracle Online to begin providing online courses in preparation for the examinations for the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) leading to the following qualifications:
Courses we can offer online now include:
* Background to Shipping