Trade body looks at carbon cuts in maritime supply chain

The Freight Transport Association is to extend its carbon reduction research to emissions in the maritime supply chain.

Chris Welsh, FTA's general manager of global and European policy, told a shipping conference that the association will be assisting Heriot-Watt University with its research on the subject and will integrate the outcomes into its broader carbon reduction scheme, the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme.

The LCRS, which is currently focused on commercial vehicle activity, aims to record, report and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the UK freight transport sector. The scheme was launched at the beginning of this year and now has over 40 members.

Welsh commented: "Shipping is generally regarded as an environmentally sound mode of transport, with relatively low energy consumption per unit of freight moved, but with carbon emissions predicted to rise and national targets in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 to 80 per cent by 2050, it is essential that we start work on monitoring and reducing carbon emissions now."

Existing data solely relates to the emissions of the ship, with no account being taken of emissions from ports, feeder and overland movements. The FTA says the interaction of shipping and land-based logistics has so far been overlooked, and could be a critical factor in total door-to-door CO2 emissions. 

Heriot-Watt has a dedicated Logistics Research Centre and offers a Masters degree in maritime logistics and supply chain management. It conducts both academic and contract research and has worked with the FTA in the past.

The main objectives of the latest research are to assess the extent to which carbon intensity is affected by logistics decisions; identify opportunities for shippers to take an active role in decarbonisation initiatives; establish data requirements of shippers seeking to monitor and manage CO2; and model the potential CO2 savings from six decarbonised initiatives led or approved by shippers.

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