THE SHIPPING SECTOR - AN OVERVIEW
Challenges for the shipping sector
About 90% of everything we consume is carried by sea. Most ships are fuelled by oil and emissions from the global fleet account for some 3.3% of total global GHG emissions - if it were a country it would be the sixth largest emitter in the world.
As we move into a future where fossil prices are, at best, going to be, volatile and where emissions from ships are being increasingly controlled, then the cost of shipping is set to rise. It follows that our lifestyles will be negatively impacted by either rising prices or limited availability of the goods we depend upon in our interconnected global economy
Small ships - least efficient
B9 Ships are designed to address a particular and sizeable niche within the global shipping fleet - the small ship - a merchant vessel at less than 10 000 deadweight tonnes. Ships of this size account for about 4% of the total transport work undertaken across the world carrying essential commodities and energy feedstock without which our lifestyles would be severely compromised.
But small ships are responsible for between up to 25% of the emissions produced by the whole fleet.
Small ships are heavily impacted by increasing fuel prices.
The global financial crisis has subdued freight rates and, therefore, revenues for the shipping industry and these are now at historic lows. At the same time, oil prices remain high with this projected to continue. New regulatory pressures, including MARPOL regulations on SOx and NOx, 'Energy Efficiency Design Index' and 'Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan' heap extra pressure on the sector and it is generally considered inevitable that an IMO or EU Market Based Measure will add a carbon component to ship operating costs.
Consequently across the shipping industry there is a sharp focus on energy/carbon efficiency and new business models.
Small ships - essential links
Small ships are the vital element in an optimised interconnected global fleet. They act as feeder vessels for large ships to provide access to smaller local ports and avoid the use of more polluting, more congesting overland transport alternatives. Small ships operate on short sea routes carrying essential commodity and energy cargoes and small ships connect vulnerable island archipelagos with mainland resources.
The small ship end of the global fleet is under greatest pressure; operating an increasingly elderly and inefficient fleet often below break-even.