Sustainability Challenges And The Way Forward: Capt. S.R. Patnaik


The transportation sector contributes about 25% of the global CO2 emissions, out of which 75% can be attributed to road transport, 11% to sea transport, 11% to air transport and 3% to others. Shipping emits 2.3% of global CO2 Emissions. Environment protection is crucial and there are Global Initiatives in place to ensure that CO2 emissions are brought down over a period of time.  Capt S. R. Patnaik, C.E.O., International Shipping and Logistics FZE (ISL), discussed the Challenges and the Initiatives set up to achieve Sustainability Goals in context of the Shipping Industry during his talk on ‘Sustainability Challenges And The Way Forward’ at Asia Dry Bulk Cargo Summit 2022 (Online).

The Shipping Industry’s contribution to the global CO2 emissions is relatively low, however every industry must progress in their sustainability journey and understand what the challenges are and how to mitigate these challenges.

“It is important that on an individual level, corporate level and country level, to ensure that we move ahead in the sustainability journey. Sustainability isn’t limited to financial gain. It is both, financial and non-financial and that is where the concept of ESG comes in; Environment, Society and Governance. Companies like TATA Steel have been following ESG for a long time. Most companies now are required to comply with the concept of Environment, Society and Governance. Profitability alone does not guarantee that you will survive in this market.”

Companies have to ensure that they are responsible when it comes to the protection of the environment. Responsible regarding the society as well, contributing to the reduction of poverty, ensuring better living conditions and clean sanitation for people. When it comes to Governance, it’s essential to have a good, unbiased board, with transparency in decision making, disclosures and audit systems.

“Sustainable growth basically means to have a long-term impact and business growth to meet both financial and non-financial gains.”

In 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action is one of them. As part of the United Nations family, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated SDGs. IMO introduced measures like EEXI, EEDI and CII and has set targets to be met; 40% reduction of carbon intensity by 2030 and 70% reduction of carbon intensity by 2050, for example. Carbon intensity is the number of grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per tonne mile. “Time is running out. We have little time to meet these targets. Let’s look at what we can do as part of the industry to manage this.” said Capt. S. R. Patnaik, expressing concern about reaching these targets. 

The two main pollutants from the ship’s emission are Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and Sulphur oxides (SOx). Both NOx and SOx are combustion products that are emitted into the environment in the form of smoke. 

IMO’s Strategy- Prevention of Air Pollution

IMO has already taken several steps with respect to the Sox/ NOx/ GHG. IMO adopted prevention of air pollution from Ships through MARPOL Annex 6 in 1997 on SOx, NOx, GHG and VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) from Tankers. The Sulphur content is being limited in fuel oil from 3.5 to 0.5% effective 1st Jan 2020, for the reduction of SOx. In ECA Zones it is reduced to 0.1% from 1st Jan 2015. Another measure is the installation of scrubber.

Whereas for NOx emissions, IMO has come up with Tier1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 emission limits with which ships will have to comply with to minimize the NOx emissions over a period of time. Tier 3 being the most stringent.

                                                                      Image Credit:

NOx is caused primarily due to high cylinder temperature, heavy load on the engine, improper air fuel ratio, high temperature intake and scavenge air, overheated cylinder jacket and jacket water temperature.

IMO -GHG Strategy

(click on picture to enlarge)

With effect from 2013, all ships built after 1st Jan 2013 have to meet the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). Each ship will also have to have a Ship energy efficiency management plan (SEEMP). This is the base 0 of EEDI and every five years from 2015 the carbon intensity reduction must be 10%. The ships that are built after 2015 must have a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity, ships built after 2020 by 20% and for ships built after 2025 there must be a 30% reduction. This is how ships have to comply on EEDI going ahead in the next 15 years.

EEDI - The Energy Efficiency Design Index

Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), formulated for new ships, is an index that estimates grams of CO2 per transport work (g of CO2 per tonne?mile). It is a function of installed power, speed of the vessel and cargo carried.

                                                            Image Credit: Indian Registrar of Shipping

It entered into force from 01st Jan 2013, applicable to ships of ≥ = 400 GT, engaged in International Voyages (Except oil Rigs, towed barges or non-mechanical barges etc). Ships will be issued with International Energy Efficient Certificate for compliance. The timing of the survey will be along with Annual/ Intermediate/ Renewal survey of IAPP Certificate on or after 2013. The base line was implemented in 2013, with the requirement getting stricter every 5 years from 2015 onwards.

EEXI- Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index 

The EEXI regulation will come into force on the 1st January 2023. It is a one-time certification based on the ship’s design parameters like EEDI. It is applicable to existing ships ≥ = 400 GT built before 2013 (EEDI applies to new ships). The Index estimates grams of CO2 per transport work (g of CO2 per tonne?mile) for a vessel sailing at 75 % of its maximum main engine power (PMe) in laden condition. Each vessel will be required to meet an EEXI rating equivalent to the EEDI rating required of a new vessel delivering in 2023. It is a highly stringent requirement. Vessels which are not compliant will need to reduce CO2 emissions per DWT-Nm.

For ships to comply, they would have to reduce engine power by installing over ridable main engine power limiter (EPL), that is effectively going to cap the engine power so the ship cannot proceed on full speed and that is going to limit the emission levels. Or by using Retrofit Energy Saving Technologies – E.G Batteries, Waste Heat recovery system, Air Lubrication Technology, Wind assisted propulsion, Low or Zero Carbon Fuel. Another way to get the index down would be to improve the propulsion efficiency by going for better hull profile, modifying the rudder and the rudder types or by reducing resistance by using ‘low resistance ‘antifoul, installing an air lubrication system or modifying the bow shape.

CII- Carbon Intensity Indicator

The Carbon Intensity Indicator is an operational efficiency indicator for all vessels over 5,000 GT. It is an efficiency indicator unlike the EEDI which is a design indicator.  It is coming into force on 1st January 2023. It measures Carbon Intensity, the formula is (Annual Fuel Consumption x CO2 Emission Factor) ÷ Transport work (Distance Sailed x Capacity). All the ships will have to declare their annual fuel consumptions. The CO2 emission factor will depend upon the type of fuel used.

The CII will be reported annually, and every vessel will be given a rating from A to E (A being the best and E being the worst). Each ship needs a rating of ‘C’ or better to trade worldwide. Without a minimum rating of ‘C’, a lot of modifications will be required to ensure compliance.

In order to comply, measures like slow steaming, regular hull cleaning and use of better-quality fuel will be used to get the CII down.


  • Compliance to EEXI and EEDI will be a challenge to Shipowners as less than 25% of Bulkers, Tankers and Containers are complying to the regulations.
  • Slow steaming – most viable solution will put pressure on ship supply and increase in freight rates.
  • There is no definite solution on right kind of low carbon fuel.
  • Changing ships engine to low carbon fuel will entail huge costs and also challenge on bunkering facility worldwide.
  • Charterers are hesitant to sign- up long term contracts due to uncertainties.

Future Fuels

There is a lot of research being conducted on the fuels LNG, LPG, Methanol, Hydrogen, Ammonia and Biofuel to determine the which is the best one. All of them have a set of advantages and disadvantages.

  • LNG- Cleanest Fossil Fuel
  • LPG - clean, energy efficient and portable fuel with an affordable price tag.
  • Methanol- considered a clean-burning fuel that produces low GHG emissions (SOx, NOx and particulate matter)
  •  Hydrogen-zero carbon dioxide emissions when used in fuel cells as converter of energy and could eliminate emissions of GHG/
  • Ammonia- if ammonia could be produced from renewable energy sources (currently fossil fuel-based hydrogen), it could present another renewable fuel solution. 
  • Biofuel-Biofuels are transportation fuels such as ethanol and bio-based fuels that are made from biomass materials. In many uses, these fuels are usually blended with fossil fuels (gasoline and distillate/diesel fuel and heating oil), but they can also be used on their own

First hydrogen-powered MR Tanker approved by RINA

Image Credit – FKAB Marine

RINA Classification Society has announced the Approval in Principle (AiP) of Swedish designer FKAB Marine Design’s hydrogen powered MR Tanker, the first AiP of a design using currently viable technology and fuels that achieves IMO 2050 targets.

There are several challenges ahead, but the shipping industry has a roadmap and is actively progressing with it. There will be ramifications on the charter market as well 1st January 2023 onwards. Shipping Companies will have to comply and meet the requirements set out by IMO.

Source: Kavita Mishra/ TST News Desk

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