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Cutting carbon footprint shipping industry

Chile & Peru claim avocado trade is threatened by shipping measure

Speed limits at sea could cut shipping’s carbon footprint fast, but fresh fruit exporters are raising concerns. The trade in avocados, cherries and blueberries could suffer from a proposed short-term measure to cut carbon emissions from shipping, according to Chile and Peru.

Both Latin-American nations have signed a declaration saying international shipping must “take urgent action” to limit its climate impact, in line with the Paris Agreement. But ahead of an important UN shipping meet in April, they warned against speed limits at sea, one of the few regulations being considered for implementation before 2023.

Rolando Drago, Chile’s ambassador to London and head of delegation to the International Maritime Organization, stated his country had made ‘ a political commitment’ to discuss climate action in shipping. But Chile would support some measures more than others, he added. “We are really worried regarding the speed of vessels, because that could affect our exports.”

For example, a shipment of cherries from Valparaiso, Chile, to Shanghai, China would take 33 days at 20 knots against 44 days at 15 knots. This could affect quality and distort trade.

In general, ships use less fuel and generate lower emissions when they travel slowly. If oil prices are high, many ship operators choose to slow down to save costs.

A study commissioned from CE Delft found ‘slow steaming’, as it is known in the industry, could cut emissions in key sub-sectors by up to a third over the period 2018-30. quoted a Transport & Environment campaigner as saying: “Ships voluntarily slowed down between 2008 and 2012 because of the prevailing market conditions. There is no evidence that this has led Chilean or Peruvian fruit exporters to go bankrupt.”


Publication date: 3/21/2018

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