Are ships more polluting than Germany?

The shipping industry is meeting in London to formulate a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By some estimates, the international shipping industry produces as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as Germany.

Reality Check looks at the data behind this comparison and from where all this pollution is coming.

Engines on the world’s biggest ships can be as tall as a four-storey house, and as wide as three London buses. So a lot of fuel is required, which in turn creates a large amount of CO2.

Carbon dioxide is an example of a greenhouse gas. The greenhouse gas effect is the process of gases like CO2 trapping warmth in the atmosphere and heating up the planet.

International shipping accounts for about 2.2% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and 2.1% of CO2 emissions, according to the UN International Maritime Organisation’s most recent data.

Germany’s CO2 and overall greenhouse emissions account for about 2.2% and 1.9% of the world’s total respectively, according to European Commission’s most up-to-date figures – about the same percentages as the international shipping industry.

A country by country comparison can also be used as a device to demonstrate the scale of pollution in the shipping industry.

According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), an independent environmental research organisation, international shipping produced 812 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2015.

The ICCT said that if treated as a country, international shipping would be the sixth largest emitter of CO2 in 2015.

They pointed to a list of the top polluting countries compiled by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure. Public Works and Water Management, which puts international shipping as the sixth largest emitter of CO2.

The ICCT and Environmental Assessment Agency research both focused on CO2 produced by energy use and the ICCT said it removed domestic and fishing vessels, which would be covered by a country’s own count of emissions.

The IMO is also addressing the amount of sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships. It says a reduction in sulphur oxides that emanate from a ship should have significant environmental health benefits.

The World Shipping Council, an industry body, also says it is engaged in efforts to reduce CO2 and is “working to secure a global agreement addressing CO2 emissions from ships through the International Maritime Organization”.

International shipping is a catch-all term for shipping between ports of different countries and so excludes domestic transportation. There are many different types of vessels and each produces different levels of CO2.

The largest producers according to the ICCT are the biggest vessels; container ships, followed by the bulk carrier and the oil tanker. Container ships account for about one fifth of all emissions.

However, modern ships are designed to slide through the water more efficiently than older ones or are built to operate at lower speeds to save fuel.

For example, the largest of the Maersk container ships are reported to be 35% more fuel efficient than older, smaller vessels, according to Marine Insight.

Battery power is already being used on some ferries in Scotland and Norway and there are more radical Japanese plans for hi-tech sails to power cargo ships, says the BBC’s science editor David Shukman.

It is common for a ship to be registered under the state flag of a country that is different to the country of the ship owner.

It’s a process called flags of convenience and allows ships to sail under the maritime regulations of the flag they are registered under. On offer is access to cheaper labour and low taxes.

Many of the world’s ships sail under the Panamanian flag and most of the world fleet sail under the flags of developing nations, according to the IMO.

The top five ship-owning countries are Greece, Japan, China, Germany and Singapore.
Source: BBC

Shipping faces demands to cut CO2

Container shipImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

A battle is under way to force the global shipping industry to play its part in tackling climate change.

A meeting of the International Maritime Organisation in London next week will face demands for shipping to radically reduce its CO2 emissions.

If shipping doesn’t clean up, it could contribute almost a fifth of the global total of CO2 by 2050.

A group of nations led by Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, Panama and Argentina is resisting CO2 targets for shipping.

Their submission to the meeting says capping ships’ overall emissions would restrict world trade. It might also force goods on to less efficient forms of transport.

This argument is dismissed by other countries which believe shipping could actually benefit from a shift towards cleaner technology.

The UK’s Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani told BBC News: “As other sectors take action on climate change, international shipping could be left behind.

“We are urging other members of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to help set an ambitious strategy to cut emissions from ships.”

Trade and prosperity

The UK is supported by other European nations in a proposal to shrink shipping emissions by 70%-100% of their 2008 levels by 2050.

Guy Platten from the UK Chamber of Shipping said: “We call on the global shipping industry to get behind these proposals – not just because it is in their interests to do so, but because it is the right thing to do.

“The public expects us all to take action, they understand that international trade brings prosperity, but they rightly demand it is conducted in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. We must listen to those demands, and the time for action is now.”

ContainersImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The problem has developed over many years. As the shipping industry is international, it evades the carbon-cutting influence of the annual UN talks on climate change, which are conducted on a national basis.

Instead the decisions have been left to the IMO, a body recently criticised for its lack of accountability and transparency.

The IMO did agree a design standard in 2011 ensuring that new ships should be 30% more efficient by 2025. But there is no rule to reduce emissions from the existing fleet.

The Clean Shipping Coalition, a green group focusing on ships, said shipping should conform to agreement made in Paris to stabilise the global temperature increase as close as possible to 1.5C.

Tangible goals

A spokesman said: “The Paris temperature goals are absolute objectives. They are not conditional on whether the global economy thinks they are achievable or not.”

So the pressure is on the IMO to produce an ambitious policy. The EU has threatened that if the IMO doesn’t move far enough, the EU will take over regulating European shipping. That would see the IMO stripped of some of its authority.

A spokesman for the Panamanian government told BBC News his nation supports the Paris Agreement.

“But”, he said, “Panama, as a developing country that depends on the maritime sector for its progress, and aware that the welfare of its population relies on shipping, believes in the necessity of a well though-out and studied strategy that allows sustainable and efficient reduction of emissions.

“To haste into an uncalculated strategy that aims to reduce emissions to zero by the year 2050 does not take into account the current state of technology.”

A recent report from the International Transport Forum at the rich nations’ think tank the OECD said maximum deployment of currently known technologies could achieve almost complete decarbonisation of maritime shipping by 2035.

A spokesperson for another of the nations resisting targets told BBC News: “My country pushed very hard to get the deal in Paris. But you will notice that many of the countries opposing the restrictions on CO2 are developing countries that are distant from some of their markets.”

Campaigners say huge improvements in CO2 emissions from existing ships can be easily be made by obliging them to travel more slowly. They say a carbon pricing system is needed.

International shipping produces about 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 annually – that’s more than the entire German economy.

Jacinda Ardern sets out Government’s transport plan, including nationwide fuel tax

KEY POINTS:

  • The Government has released its draft 10-year policy statement on land transport
  • A fuel tax increase of between 9 and 12 cents a litre has been proposed
  • Aucklanders face fuel tax hikes of about 20 cents a litre if the Government’s increases and a regional fuel tax are brought in
  • Funding on public transport will increase by 46 per cent
  • Funding allocated for state highways will be cut by 11 per cent
  • $4 billion will be allocated over 10 years to establish Rapid Transit, such as light rail, initially focusing on Auckland

Aucklanders face a double whammy of fuel tax hikes of about 20 cents a litre if central government fuel levy increases and a regional fuel tax are brought in, but Transport Minister Phil Twyford says he believes Aucklanders understand the need for it.

Auckland Council is expected to introduce about 10 cents a litre in regional fuel taxes to pay for its share of major transport projects and the Government’s new 10-year policy plan for transport proposes a further nationwide increase of 9-12 cents litre over three to four years.

That is to fund projects such as light rail in Auckland and other measures.

Twyford said he believed Aucklanders realised the gridlock that was happening now could not continue and it was not fair to ask those who lived in places like Levin and Whanganui to pay for all of Auckland’s transport woes.

Twyford said other cities would also benefit from rail and rapid transit options, as well as Auckland.

The Government’s new transport plan will cut the funding allocated for state highways by 11 per cent while an initial investment of $4 billion over 10 years will be ploughed into Labour’s plans for light rail in Auckland.

The overall plan

The Government has released its draft 10-year policy statement on land transport – the guide which sets how the Land Transport fund should allocate about $4 billion in funding each year.

It will see funding on public transport increase by 46 per cent to expand the routes available and subsidies for public transport.

On top of that, it sets a new class of Rapid Transit under which $4 billion will be allocated over 10 years to establish rapid transit investment, such as light rail, initially focusing on Auckland. That would ramp up over time.

About four times as much will be spent on expanding cycling and pedestrian pathways than under National.

The money for regional roads will double from about $90 million a year to $180 million a year in 2019/20 and up to $210 million for four years after that.

That comes at a cost for future large-scale motorway upgrades such as National’s policy of $10 billion for 10 further Roads of National Significance.

Instead, Twyford said there will be “targeted” improvements to state highways.

Twyford said it was an important step to making roads safer to reduce the road toll.

“We’re going to invest in what makes the most difference – regional and local roads and targeted improvements to the State Highway network.”

Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford answer questions about the proposal. Photo / NZH
Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford answer questions about the proposal. Photo / NZH

“The previous Government did not spend enough on road safety and instead wasted funds on a few low-value motorway projects. This has created an imbalance in what is funded with a few roads benefiting at the expense of other areas.”

One of Labour’s key election policies was to build light rail from the CBD to the airport and extend that to include routes to the central suburbs and West Auckland over the next decade and then to the North Shore.

It also wanted a bus rapid transit line from the eastern suburb of Howick.

The new statement sets safety as the top priority, followed by access, the environment and value for money.

That contrasts with National’s policy statement which had economic growth and productivity as the top priority, followed by safety and value for money.

Those with an interest in the plan such as local government, transport bodies and community groups have until May 2 to submit on it.

Petrol levy increases

Twyford said there would be petrol levy increases, but those would be at the lowest end of what National would have needed had its motorway proposals gone ahead.

He said the previous government had not disclosed that transport officials had advised it that petrol levies needed to increase to fund its plans for expressways.

“We’ve chosen to limit increases in petrol levies to the lowest end of [former Transport Minister] Simon Bridges’ range.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Labour was seeking feedback on proposed fuel tax increases of between 9 and 12 cents a litre to fund its transport proposals.

Julie Anne Genter said making it safer for people to walk and cycle was also a priority. Photo / NZH
Julie Anne Genter said making it safer for people to walk and cycle was also a priority. Photo / NZH

She said National leader Bridges had been told that to meet National’s ambitions, they would need a fuel levy increase of 10-20 cents a litre.

Ardern said the Government was prioritising safety and investing in roads neglected by the former government.

“What you won’t see is investment in a small number of dual carriage highways while local roads and other transport options suffer.”

Twyford said over Easter eight people had died, the worst road toll in several years.

He said early work by officials suggested $800 million worth of safety improvements that could make a significant difference.

“This shifts policy priorities away from costly white elephants.”

He said transport spending in many regions had decreased under the previous government.

“Half of vehicle journeys are on local roads, yet less than 5 per cent of the funding has been spent on improving them.”

He said the rapid transit network would help free up roads.

“This is the first time spending on rapid transport will take place under the Land Transport Fund.”

It also proposed spending money on rail under the fund for the first time, saying Labour believed all forms of transport should be funded under it.

Phil Twyford said there would be petrol levy increases, but those would be at the lowest end of what National would have needed had its motorway proposals gone ahead. Photo / NZH
Phil Twyford said there would be petrol levy increases, but those would be at the lowest end of what National would have needed had its motorway proposals gone ahead. Photo / NZH

Walking and cycling a priority

Associate Transport Minister Green MP Julie Anne Genter said making it safer for people to walk and cycle was also a priority and it would provide safe cycleways that were separate from vehicle traffic.

The areas around schools would be a focus.

She said every day in Auckland a pedestrian or cyclist was hit by a car and injured or killed.

Regional Development Minister and NZ First MP Shane Jones said he was expecting some backlash from the regions because many had been “fed a line” that motorway upgrades would resolve their problems.

He said KiwiRail was a key part of NZ First’s plans on better freight and tourism offerings so he welcomed its inclusion under the plan.

The Government is also considering allowing coastal shipping to be funded under the fund.

Roads of national significance

Twyford said about seven of National’s Roads of National Significance which were already underway would continue – but the nine further RONS projects it had put up as an election policy were not funded and would not go ahead.

While some work would take place on those roads it would not be to the same extent.

Asked about the proposal to get four lanes through to Whangarei, Jones said he would prefer to see unsafe local roads fixed “rather than this pipe dream that by 2032 we were going to get four lanes through to Whangarei”.

He said the short-term focus was tidying dangerous areas and increasing rail.

Matt Lowrie from transport advocacy group Greater Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
Matt Lowrie from transport advocacy group Greater Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

Transport groups reply to Government’s new policy

Matt Lowrie from transport advocacy group Greater Auckland said the new plans so far look “very impressive”.

“It is a big step forward from what we have had in the past and giving focus on areas that have been lacking for quite some time – particularly around safety and public transport,” he said.

“The safety one is a big one. We have just had the worst Easter road fatalities for a number of years, and the death toll on our roads is increasing.

“That is a really concerning trend as it had been trending down for a long time before that, so we do need to improve our safety.”

Lowrie said the announcements looked to improve on former government policy.

“A lot of that funding for the last decade was pulled away and put into some really large motorway projects. While they are safe, they are very expensive and sucked a lot of funding away from the necessary projects that can actually help improve safety for a lot of people.

“What I think we are going to see now is a focus on a lot more areas which have actually shown to be working well, particularly safety, where we can safe peoples’ lives and reduce the number of people dying on our roads.”

Lowrie said it was also good to see a strong acknowledgement of public transport funding.

“Some of that is coming through in the form of rapid transit funding – which is light rail and busways – it is the high quality options that are key to driving up public transport use, which is going to make it easier to get around as well.”

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website Dog and Lemon, also described the policy as a welcome change of direction.

“The fact is we don’t need new motorways, we need to fix up the roads we already have. It is rural roads where people are dying and it is rural roads where the money needs to be spent so this is plain common sense,” he said.

“Also, the roads with the lowest road toll tend to be the ones with the best public transport systems so it is not just freeing up gridlock, it is actually likely to save lives.”

Although Matthew-Wilson did not agree with fuel taxes, calling them “misguided”.

This view was mirrored by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union who said the government’s proposal to increase fuel levies breaks Jacinda Ardern’s promise of “no new taxes”.

“Fuel tax is particularly harmful because of its regressive nature – the people it hurts most are poorer families living in fringe suburbs. This will ultimately mean less food on the table,” executive director Jordan Williams said.

“And as if fuel tax hikes didn’t sting enough, the Government is going to be using the revenue to fund cycleways and trams, at the same time they’re slashing funding for highways. In other words, drivers are paying more to receive less.”

Simon Wilson: 10 pieces of nonsense they’re talking about transport

Labour’s transport plan met with a roar of disaproval. But it was was clearly signposted and should have surprised no one.

1. There’s a difference between a tax and an excise.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has argued this in Parliament and in various media, but it’s nonsense. Excise is another word for tax.

2. Raising the fuel excise does not count as a new tax.

In the 2017 election campaign Ardern promised no new taxes, and critics say this breaks that promise. Ardern says no. She argues that because the existing fuel tax has gone up by a few percentage points a litre most years, raising it in 2018 and beyond isn’t new.

The critics are right: a tax hike is a tax hike, whether or not it’s expected. Besides, although it’s likely a National government would have continued to raise the fuel tax, as it did in most years of its last term, we don’t know if that’s true.

3. The government is giving up on the regions.

National’s leader Simon Bridges and his transport spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross have both argued this in Parliament and to various media. Ross also says the government is “taking money from the regions to give to Auckland’s trams”. Commentator Matthew Hooton says the regions are having their roads neglected.

In fact, over 10 years Labour plans to spend $530 million on regional improvements, to National’s $425 million. It will spend $2.1 billion on state highway maintenance, to National’s $1.98 billion.

It’s true National would have spent more on state highway improvements: $4.6 billion to Labour’s $3.85 billion. But that’s because of its proposed new “Roads of National Significance” (RONS), most of which did not have a sound business case.

The government also has new funding still to announce for rail, which will target the regions, and it has that $1 billion a year regional economic development fund. It’s absurd to say Labour is giving up on the regions.

4. The government hates cars and it hates people in cars too.

NewstalkZB’s Mike Hosking said this. Perhaps he wasn’t being entirely serious, but he did say it.

What are the circumstances in which that might be true? Having a law to stop you driving? Taking away all the cars? Ensuring the roads are so congested that it’s pointless even to attempt to drive? Maybe just deciding to spend no more money on roads?

For the record, the new policy statement allocates 78 per cent of transport funding over the next 10 years to roads. To suggest that’s the policy of a car-hating government is an overreaction.

Public transport gets 21 per cent, and active transport (walking and cycling) gets a massive 1 per cent.

5. Aucklanders love their cars.

Hosking again, and yes, some do, but some not so much. Aucklanders use their cars a lot, and one reason is that very often they do not have a choice. The new policy is designed to create choice, to make non-car forms of transport more viable for more people.

The best example of why this will work is the Northern Busway, which now carries more than half of all peak-time commuters over the harbour bridge. Before it was built, critics claimed no one would use it. Because, that’s right, Aucklanders love their cars.

6. Using the Road Transport Fund to pay for rail or other public transport is theft.

National MP Judith Collins has argued this on Twitter and in Parliament. Hosking says the tax is “for roads and bridges”. In fact, it’s a tax to be spent on land transport.

Collins and Hosking might be on stronger ground if motorists did not benefit from spending on rail and other public transport. But they will. Better public transport is the key to addressing congestion on the roads. Once our PT network is citywide and efficient, many more people will leave their cars at home and those who don’t will benefit from that.

7. The government is prioritising the needs of tourists getting to and from the airport.

National’s Jami-Lee Ross told Parliament this. But a great many air travellers are not tourists, they’re locals. Moreover, the proposed light rail line to the airport will be a commuter line connecting Aucklanders with one of the biggest employment precincts in the city. Tourists will benefit, but they’re not the main reason for creating that line.

8. Light rail to the airport is the number one priority.

Transport minister Phil Twyford has announced this. But should it be? Light rail to the airport was an election talking point and it makes for a good headline. But the part of Auckland in most desperate need of good public transport is the east.

Rapid transit is proposed to link the airport to Puhinui and Manukau, and then Flat Bush, Botany and Howick. It will be a busway like the Northern Busway, to start. Twyford lists that project as number two, but he needs to ensure it gets an early start.

9. A congestion tax would be better than a fuel tax in Auckland.

Most economist-minded commentators say this. Fuel taxes are not especially fair, because the people they hurt the most are those least able to afford them. This makes them “regressive”.

In fact, fuel taxes are regressive in several ways. Poor people spend a higher proportion of their incomes on petrol, so the damage to their disposable income is more severe. They tend to drive vehicles that a less fuel-efficient, to live in outer suburbs and to have less access to efficient public transport, all of which mean they need to buy more petrol. And if they do shift work, public transport may never be available.

So, congestion charging on the motorways and in the city centre would be fairer: if you’re taking part in the worst congestion, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.

But congestion charging (like other forms of demand pricing) takes several years to set up. The last government seemed to favour it, but was in no hurry to get the work done.

That tardiness has fed the crisis we’re in today. Fuel taxes are proposed because they can be implemented quickly and easily, while we wait for a better approach to be developed. But those fuel taxes have to be used to fund the services that are needed most urgently: a much stronger public transport network in the poorer parts of the city.

10. We can’t do much about road safety.

Reducing the carnage on our roads is the top policy goal of the new transport framework, but many commentators mutter than maybe it just can’t be done.

The death rate on New Zealand roads has risen sharply in just the last few years: 253 in 2013 became 379 in 2017. Why? You can blame the cars, the roads, the advertising, whatever, but what it all comes down to is that, for many reasons, not enough of us drive safely.

There are many ways we can reduce the lethal consequences of that fact, and they are not all expensive. Putting a median barrier down the middle of all state highways, for example, would cost only half what the last government was going to spend on the proposed new East West Link between Penrose and Onehunga.

11. It’s all nonsense.

Pretty much everyone who’s complained has said this.

The government’s transport policy statement was clearly signposted during the election and should have surprised no one. It prioritises safety, goes some way to redressing a long-standing imbalance between roads for private use and public transport, slots into a larger framework for regional development and makes a serious attempt to address the crisis of roads congestion – especially in Auckland.

It’s transport, there are no overnight solutions and whatever we do will be complex and often expensive. But it’s not nonsense. And yet, although the need to develop and debate long-term strategy is obvious, the debate has been sound-bited into “punitive taxes”, “robbing the regions” and “penalising motorists”. None of those things are true.

How are we going to face up to the big difficult issues if politicians and commentators prefer the lazy option of easy trash talk?

44 countries sign up to decarbonize shipping

Total number of signatory countries revealed at this week’s press conference in Paris was 44 – three more signed up last week – from every part of the world.

This makes it the largest grouping heading into crucial IMO discussions on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the shipping sector, which start April 3 next week.

Chile, Peru and Mexico signed up from Latin America, further isolating Brazil’s opposition to any outright cap on shipping’s CO2 emissions.

New Zealand Embassy’s Roger Dungan: “The fact that we’re far away surrounded by ocean doesn’t excuse us from taking action. Innovation is our friend… Our new government is thinking hard about how our economy is switching to a low-carbon future.”

Dirk-Jan Nieuwenhuis at Netherlands Embassy: “Netherlands is not opposed to speed limits for shipping, as long as they don’t distort trade.”

“The future of the shipping industry hangs on the MEPC72 meeting,” said John Maggs, Seas at Risk. “I have been to IMO meetings for many years, and going down the middle might work with some pollution issues, but on greenhouse gases if you go down that middle option, that has Japan’s name on it, you will fail to tackle climate change.”

“In about 12 years time, the majority of newbuild vessels will need to have zero greenhouse gas emissions” Tristan Smith, UCL

Henric Råsbrant, Ministre Conseiller at Swedish Embassy: “Our industry has been very active on decarbonizing shipping. Our Swedish industry organization is targeting zero carbon by 2050… We are open to collaboration with all”
Source: GSCC Network

SMM 2018: Green Shipping Makes Headway

The countdown is on: The new 0.5 per cent sulphur limit for ship fuels will take effect on 1 January 2020. “There is no turning back. The lower sulphur limit will have a significant positive impact on the environment and on human health, especially for people living in port cities and coastal regions,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on occasion of the meeting of the IMO’s Sub-committee on Pollution Prevention and Response in early February. LNG is one possible way to comply with this regulation: According to the SMM Maritime Industry Report (MIR), as many as 44 per cent of shipowners are considering liquefied natural gas propulsion for their newbuilds. At SMM 2018, the leading international maritime trade fair in Hamburg, industry stakeholders will be able to discuss other compliance options, as well.

LNG a clean alternative

Around the world shipowners are facing the challenge of having to make far-reaching decisions: Will low-sulphur fuel be available in sufficient quantities at reasonable prices? Are exhaust gas scrubbers a smart investment? Or would it be better to opt for LNG right away? Questions like these will be discussed at the Global Maritime Environmental Congress (gmec) which is held on 5 September as part of the SMM conference programme. Speakers such as Katharine Palmer, Global Sustainability Manager at the classification society Lloyd’s Register, will advise the industry on how to best comply with current regulations and prepare for future ones. In exhibition hall A5, which will be dedicated to the Green Propulsion theme with a special focus on LNG, decision-makers will be able to meet up with experts to get advice and study technical solutions hands-on.

As for ballast water management (BWM), the IMO is granting shipowners a transitional period before they must comply fully. Meanwhile the industry is working full speed on implementing the BWM Convention which took effect in 2017. This necessitates investments in the order of billions. In a study of the global ballast water management market between now and the year 2026, the US market research firm Stratistics MRC forecasts a growth rate of nearly 40 per cent – per year.

Understanding which types of BWM system are suitable for a specific ship type, and which of these systems meet both the IMO rules and the stricter requirements of the US Coast Guard is challenging. A gmec expert panel including Debra DiCianna of the US consulting firm Choice Ballast Systems, Tim Wilkins, Environment Director at Intertanko, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, Stamatis Fradelos, Principal Engineer, Operational Environmental Performance (OEP) Team, ABS and others will provide valuable insights. SMM visitors will be able to familiarise themselves first-hand with the technologies offered by relevant manufacturers from around the world. “Numerous manufacturers are reporting record numbers of incoming orders,” says Claus Ulrich Selbach, Business Unit Director – Maritime and Technology Fairs & Exhibitions at Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH.

This year’s fair will again feature various theme-based routes to help visitors find the exhibition highlights they are looking for. “We have added a Cruise & Ferry Route to our programme,” says Selbach. “From the engine room to the bridge through to passenger cabins, this route spreads out the entire value chain before our visitors.”

Cruise industry: Pioneering sustainability

When it comes to eco-friendly ship operation, the cruise industry is one step ahead of most other shipping segments, not only in response to increased environmental awareness among passengers but also because the many highly sensitive waters visited by these ships must be protected. It is the segment’s explicit goal to minimise the effects of every trip on the marine environment and on coastal regions. Here again, LNG ship fuel plays a key role. For example, AIDA Cruises ordered their third LNG-ready cruise vessel from Meyer Werft just a few weeks ago. The Japanese NGO Peace Boat’s Ecoship concept likewise favours LNG power. Apart from its dual-fuel engine, the vessel will feature ten retractable, rigid sails doubling as photovoltaic panels as well as wind turbines, and an additional 6,000 square metres of on-deck solar panels. Further information on what may will be the ‘greenest’ cruise ship yet will be available in Hall A5.

Under the chairmanship of Andreas Chrysostomou, acting Secretary General of the European chapter of CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, a gmec expert panel will focus on the cruise industry’s pioneering role in environment protection. The panel will include Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy and Government Affairs at MSC Cruises; Lex Nijsen, Vice President and Head of Four-Stroke Marine, MAN Diesel & Turbo; Rolf Sandvik, CEO, The Fjords and Jan-Erik Rasanen, Head of New Technologies at the Finnish engineering firm Foreship, among other experts.

This year’s gmec conference will take place on 5 September. The conference team will again be supported by its cooperation partner Seatrade. “Once again we have been able to recruit some top-level experts from all around the world for SMM,” says Mary Bond, Managing Director Publishing and Content at Seatrade. “Attendees can expect a series of fascinating discussions and an array of innovative solutions that will make shipping cleaner step by step.”
Source: SMM

Electric car charging stations on the rise in New Zealand

Kiwis driving electric cars are more confidently going on longer cruises because of a roll out of easy to find charging stations, the Transport Agency says.

It said New Zealand now had about 6,500 electric vehicles around the country.

A prototype video from Tesla shows an arm which finds its own way into the charging port of an electric vehicle.

There were 91 charging stations on our state highways as of the end of January, the NZTA said in a statement.

“Prominent signage along our state highways shows everyday Kiwis and visitors to New Zealand that driving, and charging, an electric vehicle is as easy and convenient as any conventional vehicle,” the agency’s Harry Wilson said.

It’s also better for the environment.

Driving an electric car created 80 per cent fewer carbon emissions than a petrol or diesel car because of New Zealand’s large supply of renewable electricity, he said.

“Supporting the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand and encouraging people to make the switch to electric is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our transport sector,” he said.

It comes as there were 91 rapid charging stations along New Zealand’s state highways as of January.

The transport agency hopes to eventually have the stations located every 75kms along major routes, with these rapid charging stations – using direct current or DC – to be supplemented by slower-charging alternating current (AC) stations.

“There is also an ever increasing number of public charging stations popping up around New Zealand – at shopping malls, airports, supermarkets and even some petrol stations,” Mr Wilson said.

Germany to fight pollution with free public transportation

Commuters board a Regio train at a railway station in Berlin.

KRISZTIAN BOCSI /BLOOMBERG
Commuters board a Regio train at a railway station in Berlin.

When the discussion turns to the rising costs of living in many global cities, one factor rarely goes unmentioned: public transport fees.

New Yorkers only spend about $116.50 per month on average, compared with up to $200 in London.

Many Germans, however, might soon have to spend a whooping $0.

The country of parental leave, short work weeks and Lederhosen may soon embark on a bold, new experiment: making public transport free.

For a start, residents of five middle-sized cities are expected to benefit from the scheme this year, but it could eventually result in the end of bus or subway tickets across the country.

The plans are included in a letter the German government sent to European Union officials, and was obtained by a number of news agencies and media outlets.

So far, experiments with free public transport have usually been short-lived.

When Paris was plagued by thick smog in 2014, authorities responded with an unprecedented idea – banning half of all cars and making public transport free.

But the measures only lasted one week. Limited experiments with free public transport were eventually also stopped in Portland and Seattle.

Germany’s latest, and more radical plans are similarly supposed to solve the lingering problem of air pollution in German cities, which recently prompted the threat of major EU fines.

More than 130 cities in Europe are currently affected by “life-threatening” air pollution, according to the European Commission.

They are believed to be responsible for about 400,000 deaths each year in the European Union.

And even though Germany is far from being Europe’s most polluted nation, the topic is taken more seriously here than in most other places which have repeatedly breached EU limits on nitrogen dioxide and fine particles.

In Germany, the topic also gained renewed attention after the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal became public in 2015, which implicated the car manufacturer in having engaged in a deliberate effort to make its products appear more environmentally friendly than they were.

In Germany’s capital Berlin, where standard monthly public transport tickets now carry the name “eco-ticket,” those revelations have triggered an unprecedented willingness to confront the country’s powerful car lobby.

“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” three German government ministers wrote in their recent letter to the EU, according to AFP.

“Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany.”

Those plans would be costly, as many German transport companies currently finance about 50 percent or more of their earnings through ticket sales.

Instead, under the new scheme, the government would be expected to jump in to shoulder the burden, which would ultimately make public transport an almost fully tax-funded system.

The free public transport plans would be complemented by other measures, such as car-sharing schemes or expanded low-emissions zones within cities.

In Germany – a nation where cars drive on autobahns without a speed limit – the move might convince many vehicle owners to take the subway instead, the government hopes.

But it could also overburden public transport networks in major cities such as Berlin, Hamburg or Munich that are already bustling during rush hours.

The plans, some fear, would result in an exponential rise in associated costs because of costly network expansions.

And would money alone be sufficient to get Germany’s public transport ready for the possible influx?

Berlin’s new airport, for example, was supposed to open six years ago.

It’s now set to welcome air travellers by 2020.

The never-ending saga of the airport continues to highlight the country’s struggle with large-scale infrastructure projects – or perhaps this is all part of an ingenious plot to force Germans to book environmentally-friendly trains instead of polluting planes.

Stink bugs discovered on board fourth ship destined for NZ

The Sepang Express vehicle transport vessel, with red hull, docked at Ports of Auckland.

The Sepang Express vehicle transport vessel, with red hull, docked at Ports of Auckland.
 Stink bugs have been found on a fourth ship bound for New Zealand.

Two types of stink bug were found on the car carrier Glovis Caravel, operated by Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines, on the weekend.

The ship, bound for the Ports of Auckland, was redirected on Wednesday after a check conducted at sea, the company’s pure car carrier (PCC) manager Malcolm Jackson said.

“We decided not to risk bringing that bug to New Zealand.”

Jackson said the company was now looking for ports in Australia where the ship could be fumigated of its brown marmorated and yellow-spotted stink bugs.

The brown marmorated stink bug poses a risk to apples, kiwifruit, corn, tomatoes, cherries and wheat.

The brown marmorated stink bug poses a risk to apples, kiwifruit, corn, tomatoes, cherries and wheat.
 Three car carriers have already reached New Zealand’s shores with stink bug infestations this month: Armacup​’s Tokyo Car, Mitsui OSK Line’s Courageous Ace, and Toyofuji’s Sepang Express.

All three were turned away.

The port was largely empty of cars on Wednesday.

There are concerns the bug could destroy fruit and vegetable industries.

There are concerns the bug could destroy fruit and vegetable industries.
 “It’s had a huge effect. Just about every manufacturer has been affected into New Zealand,” Jackson said.

“Japan is high-risk and there are some meetings being held very soon to discuss the whole car industry at the moment.”

Jackson said Mitsui OSK had conducted a check of all ships bound for New Zealand after bugs were discovered on the Courageous Ace.

An MPI spokeswoman was unable to confirm stink bugs had been found on the Caravel, but a spokesman said earlier in the day that the third ship, the Sepang Express, was found to have 30 dead brown marmorated stink bugs on board and was treated with a knock down spray.

“After this treatment, a further 19 of the bugs were found on the vessel along with other insects.”

The spokesman said the cargo would need to be fully treated before it returned to New Zealand waters.

MPI would hold a meeting with involved parties to discuss the situation and ways to manage the risk, he said.

Ports of Auckland spokesman Matt Ball said there was no impact on the Auckland Council-owned company or its employees, “except for the fact that our vehicle-handling wharves are a bit quieter than usual”.

About 6000 cars and heavy vehicles were unable to be unloaded, but they were expected back once approved for import, he said.

“We may end up having a quiet February and a really busy month when they all come back.”

The noxious pest could cause hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the New Zealand economy if it made it ashore.

Threatened foods included apples, kiwifruit, corn, tomatoes, cherries and wheat.

It could also invade properties and affect gardens.

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) and Federated Farmers have both expressed concerns over the recent discoveries of stink bugs.

KVH chief executive Barry O’Neil said the brown stink bug could destroy fruit and vegetable industries.

“These are ships that have had hundreds of stink bugs on them and it is nothing like we have seen before.”

Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesman Guy Wigley earlier said the stink bug would have a huge financial impact on farmers if found here.

“I am worried. MPI have had this pest on their radar for a number of years.”

Stink bugs are native insects in Japan and hibernate in contained spaces during the northern hemisphere winter.

The insect releases a chemical when threatened, emitting a pungent odour.

Thousands of jobs at risk after ships with stink bugs onboard turned away from NZ ports

Tens of thousands of jobs in the car retailing industry are at risk as three ships float aimlessly in the Pacific.

The car carriers have been turned away from New Zealand ports after hundreds of marmorated stink bugs were found on board.

The pest has the potential to destroy the country’s fruit and vegetable industry.

No facility in New Zealand can effectively treat the infested ships.

Vehicle Importers Association chief executive David Vinsen says the car industry understands the danger to agriculture and MPI has done the right thing, but he says it’s causing a huge problem for his industry, which at this time of the year imports about 12,000 vehicles a month.

Vinsen says a disruption like this, even of one to two weeks, has enormous consequences and he’s worried about the jobs of tens of thousands of people who process and sell those vehicles.

Three ships, carrying cars from Japan, have all been turned around at New Zealand ports in the past week.

Vinsen says one has headed to Brisbane but has been told it can’t berth in Australia either.

He says the car industry and shipping companies need to know quickly what happens now.

The brown marmorated stink bug

• The pest is a voracious eater of horticulture produce including apples, grapes and tomatoes

• A wide range of crops would be unmarketable if damaged by the bug. In the US some growers have reported crop losses of up to 95 per cent

• It is resistant to many insecticides, making it difficult and expensive to control

• When it gets cold, the stink bug bunches up in dark spaces in homes making it a major public nuisance