Libyan crude to travel to New Zealand in rare move

Libyan crude will soon be making the long journey to a refinery in New Zealand in a rare export route for the North African country’s oil, which usually finds homes in Europe and sometimes Asia, trading sources said.

The Suez Fuzeyya was placed on subjects on a Zueitina/Ras Lanuf to Whangarei voyage to carry 1 million barrels of crude for a lump sum of $5 million for December 17-19 loading, sources said.

The cargo, which will include the Amna grade along with a mix of other Libyan crudes, was chartered by Azerbaijan’s Socar Trading, sources added. A source at the company declined to comment on the details of the trade.

This will be the first new time New Zealand has imported Libyan crude in almost three years, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

The crude will be processed at the 125,000 b/d Marsden Point refinery in Whangarei, operated by Refining NZ. A representative at Refining NZ was unavailable for comment.

New Zealand mainly relies on crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Russia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The country’s crude imports have been in a range of 120,000-150,000 b/d over the past year, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

GROWING DEMAND FOR LIBYAN CRUDE
Libyan oil production recovery still under threat

The appeal of Libya’s light sweet crude has broadened over the past year driven by higher production and exports, along with strong middle distillate cracks.

Asian appetite for Libyan sweet crude has also grown in the past few months as refineries in the world’s largest oil demand center start to run sweeter slates.

Libyan crude — which is typically light, contains low sulfur and yields a good amount of middle distillates and gasoline — is extremely popular among refineries in the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe.

Libyan oil production has averaged around 1.1 million b/d in the past month, nearing a five-and-a-half-month high and marking a major change of fortune from early June when fighting at key oil export terminals sent production into freefall.
Source: Platts

Ports of Auckland to build hydrogen production and refuelling facility

In a first for Auckland, Ports of Auckland has committed to build a hydrogen production and refuelling facility at its Waitemata port. The company, and project partners Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail, will invest in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles including port equipment, buses and cars as part of the project.

Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson said “We have an ambitious target to be a zero emission port by 2040. In order to meet that target we need a new renewable and resilient power source for heavy equipment like tugs and straddle carriers, which are difficult to power with batteries. Hydrogen could be the solution for us as it can be produced and stored on site, allows rapid refuelling, and provides greater range than batteries.”

Ports of Auckland will fund the construction of a facility which will produce hydrogen from tap water. The process uses electrolysis to split water into hydrogen (which is then stored for later use) and oxygen, which is released into the air. Demonstration vehicles will be able to fill up with hydrogen at the facility, which will be just like filling up a car with CNG or LPG. Hydrogen is used in the fuel cell to create electricity which powers the car. The only by-product of the process is water.

“If this trial is successful”, said Mr Gibson, “the technology would have a very wide application. It could help Auckland and New Zealand towards energy self-sufficiency and our emission reduction goals. Trucks, trains and ferries could also run on hydrogen – something which is already being done overseas – which would be a significant benefit for the community. Hydrogen powered vehicles are quieter and emit nothing more than clean water.”

The project partners will provide technical support and will purchase hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the project. Global hydrogen experts Arup are also helping support this project through the development, design and delivery phases.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “I welcome this trial. It is a first for New Zealand and shows Auckland’s desire to lead on climate change action and meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets.

“With 40 per cent of emissions in Auckland coming from our transport system, alternative energy sources to power vehicles, such as electric and hydrogen, are critical to meeting the target of global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“With infrastructure in place, hydrogen has the potential to power our buses and other parts of our vehicle fleet both reducing global emissions and cutting back on air pollution in Auckland such as in Queen Street where carbon levels are very high,” says Mayor Phil Goff.

Auckland Council’s Chief Executive, Stephen Town, says, “We’re proud to collaborate with the Ports of Auckland, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail on this innovative hydrogen project – a first for New Zealand. It is important for organisations like ours, as signatories to the Climate Leaders Coalition, to continue leading on climate change action; it’s also important for us to push the boundaries with ambitious projects that demonstrate leadership here in Auckland. Trialling new technology to reduce emissions and signalling a smarter economic future is important for our city’s people, places and prosperity.”

KiwiRail Acting CEO Todd Moyle says KiwiRail is delighted to be part of this ground-breaking project. “KiwiRail is committed to a sustainable future and has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. While rail is an inherently sustainable form of transport with 66% fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight, new fuel sources like hydrogen have enormous potential for the future of transport in New Zealand.

“Just weeks ago, two hydrogen-powered trains with a range of 1000km per tank began operating commercial services in Germany. If successful with passengers, there is no reason why the next development could not be hydrogen-powered freight trains.

“Joining forces with Ports of Auckland in this project will allow us to explore how KiwiRail could use this new technology as we deliver stronger connections for New Zealand.”

Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison says AT is committed to clean technology and is very interested in the possibilities of hydrogen power. “This could be part of the answer for our fleet of buses and harbour ferries. The idea of a vehicle which only produces water as a by-product is very exciting.”

The project is currently in the planning phase, and Ports of Auckland is about to start stakeholder engagement before applying for resource consent in early 2019. The facility is planned to be operational by the end of 2019.

An aerial view of Ports of Auckland from the west.
SUPPLIED
An aerial view of Ports of Auckland from the west.

A rift has opened up between Auckland Council and the Government over how the future of the city’s port will be decided.

Mayor Phil Goff says there’s a risk that a Government-appointed working group looking at the upper North Island ports might have pre-determined whether Auckland’s council-owned port could move, and if so where.

Goff said he put a “robust” view to the working group’s chair, former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, in a private meeting last week.

A council commissioned study found shifting the vehicle import trade, could lose Auckland $1 billion
BEVAN READ/STUFF
A council commissioned study found shifting the vehicle import trade, could lose Auckland $1 billion

He said Brown’s public rejection of two potential locations identified by a council study didn’t give confidence, and the group didn’t appear to have enough time or resources to do a proper job.

The council on Tuesday approved a blunt letter to be sent to Brown, ahead of the council’s first formal meeting with the working group in just over a fortnight.

Goff favoured the eventual shift of the port from its current location on the downtown waterfront, but was unhappy with the approach being taken by the working group.

The council will tell the group that its priorities include protecting the value of Ports of Auckland, which last year paid it a $51.1 million dividend.

It is also telling the working group it wants a transparent, objective and evidence-based approach to reviewing the future of the ports in Auckland, Tauranga and Whangarei.

Auckland Council has conducted the most detailed work so far on the future of its port.

Previous mayor Len Brown funded out of his office budget the Port Future Study, which in 2016 found the port might not outgrow its current site in 50 years, but that work should begin on identifying alternatives, in case it did.

Before the 2017 elections New Zealand First advocated an early shift of the vehicle-import trade from Auckland to Northland’s port.

The coalition government including New Zealand First took a bigger picture approach, setting up the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group, in line with a request from Auckland Council.

New Zealand First MP and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones who oversees the working group, has since been vocal on matters relating to the future of Auckland’s port.

At the start of November Jones said he would do all he could to head-off a planned multi-storey carpark building planned by Ports of Auckland, to house vehicles arriving in the port.

“Public statements have created the impression of pre-determination,” said the council in a letter to the chair of the working group Wayne Brown.

Brown has made public comment favouring a move to Northland, including an opinion column published in November 2017 before being appointed to chair the group.

“Imagine the Auckland waterfront without used cars getting the best views,” Brown wrote.

“Watch for self-justifying job-saving promises from Ports of Auckland to fend off any sensible moves like Sydney has made keeping the harbour just for cruise liners and sending cargo to Wollongong and Newcastle.”

The council’s letter pointed to comments by Brown.

“Indicating a strong preference for relocation of some or all of POAL activities to Northport prior to any analysis is unhelpful,” said the letter which Goff will sign.

“Any plans to move all or some of the Port’s functions requires the concurrence of its owners, the people of Auckland, through Auckland Council,” said the letter.

“I’ve already said to the chair, we’ve put a lot of work into two future options (Manukau Harbour and Firth of Thames) and you’ve dismissed this out of hand, which gives us no confidence,” Goff told today’s planning committee meeting.

The council has spelled out 10 areas it wants the working group to examine closely.

These include the feasible capacity of all upper North Island ports, as well as the climate change impacts of moving freight to and from the ports.

It wanted work done on the social and community impacts of any change, and how and when a future new port would be funded.

The council will have its first meeting with the government’s working group on December 13.

 

Witness: Truck driver’s licences for bribes – no need to turn up for test

Daryl Govender and Mohammed Feroz are charged with taking bribes in exchange for driver's licences and are on trial at the Manukau District Court
JASON DORDAY/STUFF
Daryl Govender and Mohammed Feroz are charged with taking bribes in exchange for driver’s licences and are on trial at the Manukau District Court

A witness says corrupt testing officers would charge bad drivers extra but still issue them with a full driver’s licence.

Lovepreet Brar has admitted one representative charge of obtaining by deception in relation to the Auckland case and is now a Crown witness.

He gave evidence on Tuesday at the Manukau District Court where Mohammed Feroz has denied 73 charges of obtaining by deception and Daryl Pregasen Govender has denied 17 charges.

Brar said bad drivers would pay an extra $50 to $150 on top of their bribe payment if they were a particularly bad driver or if there was a fault with their car, for example a faulty brake light.

Other extra charges would be demanded if the applicant didn’t turn up to their test and corrupt testing officers had to complete the paperwork themselves.

Brar said he was recruited into the scheme in late 2014 while he worked in customer service at the AA Meadowlands branch.

He would send text messages out to friends and associates, alerting them to when the corrupt testing officers would be available.

Brar would act as the intermediary – taking money from the applicants in cash and deposits into his bank account.

The typical cost for a full drivers licence was around $300 but a heavy truck licence could cost as much as $2500.

Brar said Feroz would sometimes ask him to tell the bribe-paying truck licence applicants to turn up to the AA office in a vest to make it look like they were legitimate truck drivers.

“Because it’s a truck licence, they said it’s a big risk for them and they’re passing the person without the person even coming to the test … and they just charge more.”

There were also extra charges if the applicant didn’t turn up for the test.

Brar said testing officers would sometimes complete the paperwork, including applicant signatures in the staff toilets.

Crown prosecutor David Stevens took Brar through various transactions that showed money going into Brar’s bank account shortly before they sat a test and sometimes extra payments were made afterwards.

In some cases the transactions weren’t even disguised on bank records and merely referenced as “car money”.

One of the transactions related to a person who lived with a cousin of Brar’s in Wellington. The applicant didn’t have to leave their home in the capital but were given a driver’s licence.

Brar said Feroz was flexible in his pricing, charging Brar’s friends as little as $200 but Govender was different.

“Govender never do it for free or less money. Feroz sometimes did it for less but Govender is quite strict he is like: ‘Rule is rule, you have to pay this much’.”

He also gave evidence of the cut he would take.

“Daryl [Govender] always want me to keep $50 or $100. With Feroz it was alright. Sometimes he give me more or less. Govender was quite strict, he was like: ‘Bro, I pass the client, you keep your $50’.”

​Earlier Brar told the court how he had been recruited into the scheme.

He said he was working at the AA Meadowlands branch as a customer services representative in 2014 when a friend told him what was going on.

“He said: ‘Bro, you know you can get a licence here for $80’?”

His friend identified Feroz as the man behind the scheme, Brar said. Feroz was working out of the same AA branch office as a driving testing officer.

Brar said he told his friend “bro, this is wrong”.

He approached Feroz a short time later and the pair met at a mall food court close-by to talk.

“He explained he’s been doing it for quite a while.”

Brar said Feroz told him he had been caught once and NZTA had investigated but nothing had happened.

“He said if you bring your [Punjabi] community people, we’ll pass them.”

Brar said Feroz offered him a third of the bribe payment for every applicant he introduced to the scheme and gave an example where the bribe would cost $300 and he would receive $100.

Brar also recalled Feroz approaching him, telling him he had “good news” and that Govender had joined the scheme.

Soon after there was a meeting between the three in Feroz’s van, parked at the back of the AA branch. Govender convinced them to raise their prices.

The group would communicate by phone apps – Viber and Whatsapp – to avoid being caught, he said.

Brar said he would often leave money for Feroz under a cup in the staff room but Govender was a lot more cautions.

He said he sometimes gave Govender his cut in the staff toilets but also often drove to his home in south Auckland in the evenings to hand the money over in person.

The Crown’s case is that the bribes for car licences were typically $350 but more money was demanded if the applicant didn’t want to turn up to the test or they wanted a heavy vehicle licence.

Most applicants had failed at least once but in some cases the applicants had failed five times.

Often the applicants lived a long way from the AA Meadowlands branch and would sit their tests early, to increase their chances of getting a corrupt testing officer.

The trial, before Judge Mina Wharepouri, is in its second week.

Stuff

Locals unimpressed with fixes for ‘NZ’s Worst Intersection’ with 55 turn combinations

STEVE HATHAWAY

Residents are unimpressed with a government agency’s top three options for fixing an infamous north Auckland intersection.

Warkworth’s Hill Street intersection is one of the country’s worst and the community has been begging the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for a permanent fix for years.

The NZTA has now shortlisted three options for fixing the intersection, which has a reputation for creating driver confusion with its 55 different turning combinations.

The Fix Hill Street Now action group's billboard raises awareness around the Warkworth intersection.
FIX HILL STREET NOW ACTION GROUP
The Fix Hill Street Now action group’s billboard raises awareness around the Warkworth intersection.

In a statement, NZTA director of regional relationships Steve Mutton said the focus was to simplify traffic movements, improve congestion and cater for future traffic growth.

Two other nearby roading projects, one linking to Matakana and another major motorway upgrade north of Pūhoi, opening late in 2021, would also reduce traffic through Hill St.

NZTA director of regional relationships Steve Mutton said the options were designed to eliminate confusion, improve congestion and cater for growth in the area.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ
NZTA director of regional relationships Steve Mutton said the options were designed to eliminate confusion, improve congestion and cater for growth in the area.

“There may be a need to phase the improvements at the Hill St intersection to align with these projects, and when future development is completed,” Mutton said.

Residents feel so strongly they have set up an action group, dubbed “Fix Hill St Now”, going so far as printing t-shirts showing there are five intersections in 30 metres.

Campaign leader Grant McLachlan said the intersection was confusing for both locals and travellers: “There’s always someone who doesn’t know how to use the intersection.”

"FIx Hill St Now" campaign leader Grant McLachlan is not entirely happy with any of NZTA's three options.
CAROLINE WILLIAMS
“FIx Hill St Now” campaign leader Grant McLachlan is not entirely happy with any of NZTA’s three options.

Option A featured a large roundabout on the highway with five exits.

McLachlan was concerned the roundabout entry points were too close together, posing difficulty for buses, trucks and trucks with trailers.

“They need to take into account who will be using this [the intersection].”

St and SH1 intersection. Elizabeth St would become a one-way street leading into the Warkworth town centre and a new connection at Bank St would serve as a route back on to SH1.

McLachlan said this and option A both failed to deal with a problem at another nearby intersection where traffic often backed up on the busy roads leading to Matakana and Sandspit.

He was also concerned about a new signalled intersection on the highway leading into Warkworth, saying traffic would back up and could cause problems for the police station and a St John ambulance terminal.

Option A included a roundabout with exits to SH1, Hill St and Elizabeth St.
NEW ZEALAND TRANSPORT AGENCY
Option A included a roundabout with exits to SH1, Hill St and Elizabeth St.

“There’s going to be one hell of a queue to get to those lights.”

A variation of option B included a roundabout at Matakana and Sandspit Rds and made Elizabeth St available for left-turning traffic from Hill St only.

McLachlan said the group was disappointed in the three short-listed options.

Option B involved traffic lights at the Hill St and SH1 intersection and at a new connection from Bank St to SH1.
NEW ZEALAND TRANSPORT AGENCY
Option B involved traffic lights at the Hill St and SH1 intersection and at a new connection from Bank St to SH1.

“Each of these options are imperfect in their own unique way.”

When asked if the Hill St intersection garnered more collisions than other Warkworth intersections, Brendan Reid of Warkworth Collision Repairs said he “couldn’t say that was the case”.

“It’s a complicated intersection, but the complication of it slows traffic down.”

A variation of option B went on to include a roundabout where Matakana and Sandspit Rds split.
NEW ZEALAND TRANSPORT AGENCY
A variation of option B went on to include a roundabout where Matakana and Sandspit Rds split.

He believed the traffic lights and reduced speed caused by confusion made the chance of accidents less likely.

“But that doesn’t take away from how slow, dangerous, complicated, inappropriate that intersection is for motorists at all.”

Auckland Council Rodney councillor Greg Sayers said the announcement of the three shortlisted options was the beginning of what the community had been wanting desperately for many years.

The agency was seeking feedback from the public on the shortlisted options. Feedback could be submitted online or at the Warkworth Library by December 14.

Transport Agency not fit to regulate rail – lawyer

A health and safety lawyer believes the Transport Agency has been too cosy with the rail operators it is required to regulate for safety and wants change.

no caption

Since a 2000 inquiry into the deaths of rail workers in the 1990s, health and safety in rail has been covered by two pieces of legislation – the Railways Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act, and overseen by the Transport Agency and WorkSafe when it was established in December 2013.

Now a report from the Rail and Maritime Transport Union has laid out the case for urgent reform.

In 2012, 10 KiwiRail workers were overcome with gas while working in the country’s longest tunnel, the near nine kilometre long Kaimai Tunnel.

The workers lacked emergency evacuation equipment and did not have any procedures in place and there was no ability to communicate between the teams working in the tunnel.

In November 2013, there was a similar incident in Otira Tunnel near Authur’s Pass.

Health and safety lawyer and author of the report, Hazel Armstrong, investigated these cases for the Rail and Maritime Transport Union.

She said the Transport Agency did not use its power to improve tunnel safety, but that the then newly-formed WorkSafe was prepared to issue improvement notices and enforce standards.

“NZTA had oversight for many years and did not, so, we had to rely on WorkSafe to issue the improvement notices and the prohibition notices, because NZTA wouldn’t.”

Ms Armstrong said the rail operators have been allowed to write their own rules as part of a light-handed approach to regulation and she had no confidence in the Transport Agency.

“We have seen many years of an approach or a culture within NZTA that is not robust around health and safety.”

The union’s general secretary, Wayne Butson, said it commissioned the report as part of an ongoing struggle to get rational health and safety regulations into the rail industry since the Railway Act came into force.

He said since that piece of legislation came in in 2005 not one rule had been written by the Transport Agency.

Mr Butson said the agency did not have a culture of regulation, “what they have is a culture of trying to encourage and educate and work with employers to see how they can improve safety”.

“I think using the carrot without the stick just does not work.”

Wayne Butson and Hazel Armstrong said rail safety and regulation needs to be completely taken out of the agency’s hands and fall under WorkSafe.

The Transport Agency is under scrutiny for its oversight of other parts of the transport industry and it is now subject to an external review.

In a statement, the Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, said he is asking for advice on what changes to the regulatory function are required and expects that rail safety will be looked at as part of that work.

Twyford reassures Kiwis on road safety after NZTA revelations

Transport Minister Phil Twyford made a ministerial statement in Parliament reassuring the public about the NZ Transport Agency and road safety, and revealing some more detail about investigations.

It comes after he announced last week that he was initiating a regulatory review of the agency which was set up 10 years ago to combine three functions as the transport funder and builder, and safety regulator.

Twyford said there had been systemic failures by the agency to properly check operators who certified vehicles as safe for the road – Stuff has reported on one death, cracked truck towbars, and suspension of certifiers.

Phil Twyford has been dealing with the crisis at the NZ Transport Agency.

ANDY JACKSON/STUFF
Phil Twyford has been dealing with the crisis at the NZ Transport Agency.

Out of the 850 “open files”, or unresolved safety problems, the worst had been resolved but there were still 28 that were being urgently investigated, Twyford said.

There had been 157 files considered high priority, 370 classed as “orange”, and 345 “yellow”.

Twyford said he has been assured the highest priority cases had been dealt with by formal compliance action either completed or under way.

“Injuries on our roads are not the price we pay to travel. They are unacceptable and preventable,” he said.

“I’m disappointed that NZTA has failed to carry out its regulatory functions.”

He had appointed the Ministry of Transport  to review those functions, and given what the public and Government now knew, it was appropriate to appoint external advice, he said.

Law firm Meredith Connell took up the job near the end of September to review the files and the agency was moving quickly to rectify lapses. The cost of engaging the law firm so far was $400,000

The agency had failed to properly check operators who certified vehicles or operators, as safe for the road, and when problems were identified there was often no follow up, Twyford said.

Staff had been redeployed with reduced focus on the regulatory role over the past decade with an emphasis on education and encouragement rather than enforcement, made worse in 2014 when it lost staff from its heavy vehicle compliance team.

Twyford said the systemic failure of one of the government’s most important agencies over several years was unacceptable

As previously reported, the failures of the agency have led to one fatality in a car, and cases of metal fatigue in truck towbars.

Will alliances be blocked?

Container alliances under fire as consortia block exemption up for review in Europe.

Cooperation is rife in the container shipping world. Despite working in an industry that has often displayed a dark tendency for ruthless undercutting, carriers appear to brush aside any ill-feeling that might be caused by predatory commercial behaviour and generally play well together operationally.

There are very few standalone container services in the key trades with vessel sharing agreements (VSAs) and slot charter deals the standard. VSAs are purely operational co-operative structures that promote efficiency and cost reduction, and do not discuss or agree upon rates or other commercial issues. They can range in scale; from a single service agreement between two carriers to much deeper strategic connections among multiple lines as seen with the big three alliances – 2M, Ocean Alliance, and THE Alliance – that cover the East-West routes.
Source: Drewry

How Will Ships Help Save the Environment?

The search for zero emissions is at the forefront of the maritime industry development. The regulations on the horizon, limiting the sulphur content in marine fuel, are only the first step in making shipping green. Stricter rules and initiatives will continue going forward, and there are already ways to prepare for a clean and environmentally friendly maritime future. One of them is hydrogen fuel cells that could revolutionise the way vessels are powered.

Companies are already looking into the possibility of fuel-cell technology for ships. A maritime research group Sintef Ocean and the pioneering technology group ABB are collaborating to examine ways fuel cells could power full-sized vessels. The scientists believe that this technology could become competitive with fossil fuels, even when it comes to big vessels. Right now the process is still in the experimentation stage, testing diesel, battery and fuel cell combinations under different loads on a vessel simulator.

As of yet, it is unclear when the research portion of the process will yield tangible results. However, fuel cells have already proven its usefulness in busses, trains, trucks and are receiving significant investments in the automotive industry, paving the way for marine applications. According to ABB, this technology could have an extensive reach in the maritime sector within three to five years after the implementation of the first systems.

Already the industry is moving forward with the idea. Japan’s NYK Group has recently unveiled a new concept ship, the NYK Super Eco Ship 2050. It is designed to be powered by solar energy and hydrogen fuel cells produced from renewable energy sources.

Further along in development, a hydrogen fuel cell powered passenger ferry is being built in the San Francisco Bay Area and is expected to be operational by the end of 2019. The vessel named the Water-Go-Round could possibly become the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell ferry. It will be 70 feet long and able to carry 84 passengers at the speed of 22 knots. Competing for the ‘first of its kind’ title is the HySeas III vessel under construction in Scotland by Ferguson Marine. However, the European vessel is expected to launch only in 2021, but with construction delays in the US or streamlined processes in the UK – both ferries could hit the waters at the same time. At this point, it’s too early to tell which one will become the world’s first.

In any case, the zero-emission maritime future is coming closer with the rapid development of fuel-cell technology. This power source could completely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions and provide considerable advantages to the environment.

Could hydrogen fuel cells become the preferred source for marine propulsion in the future? Ask shipowners, maritime experts and high-level shipping professionals at the 2nd Green Maritime Forum in Hamburg on 2-3 April 2019. The event will have presentations, panel discussions, a focus exhibition and networking breaks where you will have direct access to key industry innovators and leading decision-makers
Source: Wisdom Events

Experts seek sustainability solutions to freight transport

Governments, shipping companies and trading industries will need to balance economic, social and environmental concerns to achieve sustainability in maritime transport, experts will say at an UNCTAD meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21–23 November.

The Multi-year Expert Meeting on Transport, Trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation comes just months after the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations specialized agency responsible for the safety, security and cleanliness of shipping, adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

The IMO decarbonization strategy represents the first global framework for shipping and follows the commitments made by countries in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015.

Sustainable transport encompasses three dimensions: the economy (an efficient and competitive transport sector); society (an inclusive transport industry that leaves no one behind); and the environment (clean transport that does not pollute the planet).

Growing momentum on sustainability and climate action, rising awareness about the strategic role of maritime transport, and rapid growth in innovative technological advances, are making the balancing of these three dimensions more and more possible.

“The exponential growth and potential of digitalization entail a transformative effect on the world as we know it. Digitalization is already reshaping the transport and logistics operating landscape and, depending on its pace and extent, will ultimately redefine the underlying business models,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, said.

“In the run up to the next international climate meeting, COP 24, at the beginning of December in Poland, everyone involved in transport and trade logistics needs to come together and put sustainability at the top of the agenda,” she said.

On its opening day on 21 November, participants at the expert meeting will consider the state of play of the climate discussions at the IMO and the operational, technical and policy aspects of decarbonization in international shipping, including market-based mechanisms like carbon pricing.

On the move

The first day’s sessions are co-organized with the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, which brings together leaders from government, private sector, academia, and civil society to reflect on potential use of carbon pricing policies, and benefit from the participation of World Bank Group and IMO experts, and representatives from developing countries, industry and non-governmental organizations.

These sessions will allow participants to scrutinize the “decarbonization agenda” and exchange views on its possible implications.

The strategic construction of integrated land transit corridors linked with ports to scale up sustainable freight transport will be discussed on the second day. Officials from transit corridors in Africa will discuss their experiences on this topic as well as their cooperation with UNCTAD to help them to better understand, develop and implement the strategies and policies that build the sustainability of their transport systems.

With small island developing states, such as those in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, depending on marine transport for their livelihood and on climate action for their resilience, the second session of the meeting will add their voice to the debate and focus on the sustainability and resilience strategies they and their international partners might adopt.

Sessions on the final day of the meeting will concentrate on the rise of the digitalization of the cross-border movement of goods and the simplification of administrative processes. Participants will also discuss the increasing relevance to shipping, ports and airports of innovations such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the internet of things and automation.

A highlight of the meeting will be the presentation on 23 November of a commemorative companion volume to UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport, which marked its 50th year of publication in 2018.
Source: UNCTAD