SSI explores opportunities for circularity in maritime decarbonisation

Sustainable Shipping Initiative has published a report from the consultancy 2BHonest which explores the potential for using ‘circularity principles’ to help shipping on its decarbonisation pathway.

In a statement sent to today (22 June), SSI said: ‘Over 95% of current lifecycle CO2 emissions take place during the operational stage of a ship’s life. However, as the industry works to decarbonise, the need to address and reduce emissions at other lifecycle stages will increase. By incorporating circularity principles of designing out waste, maximising the useful life of materials, and leveraging increased reuse of materials and components, shipping can reduce CO2 emissions, lower costs, and retain value whilst minimising waste.’

The report explores how current vessel recycling practices provide a starting point for shipping’s journey to a circular industry. From a materials perspective, said SSI, a high percentage of a vessel’s materials and components will be recovered at end of life and be reused or recycled, and steel recycling can contribute to a three- and six-fold reduction in energy use. SSI argues that this presents an important ‘opportunity for increased circularity’.

Pieter van t’Hoff, Responsible strategy and supply chain consultant at 2BHonest, commented: ‘The world needs to pivot away from a linear to a circular economy. For shipping this means working to create awareness, policies, business models and technologies towards an industry that is circular by design. We are excited to work together to untangle the challenges and success factors laid out in this report, which represents an important first step in accelerating the transition to a circular industry.’

Captain Prashant S. Widge, Head of Responsible Ship Recycling, Fleet Technology at A.P. Moller-Maersk, added: ‘Growth in the shipping industry coupled with an aging tonnage poses a challenge for the next decades as shipowners and operators consider their vessel transition plans as part of their decarbonisation strategies. The global recycling volumes are expected to double by 2028 and nearly quadruple by 2033. In the short term, global solutions aimed to resolve the outlined “stalemate” regulatory, capacity, and capability challenges are necessary for responsible ship recycling, especially of the larger size vessels. These are likely to emerge in countries with an inherent demand for steel scrap and existing strong downstream markets that support the implementation of the circular economy principles and reduces carbon emissions.’

Oriana Brine, Trustee at the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, concluded: ‘Over 90% of global trade is moved by ships at sea and with the global fleet having grown rapidly over the past two decades, it is essential for the industry to address end-of-life sustainability challenges, going beyond compliance-driven approaches to create new business models. By investing early to build circular economy principles into every stage of the ship’s lifecycle, the industry will realise the potential for transformation including the social, environmental, and economic rewards. Consumers and investors will look to the shipping industry for practical examples and inspiration about how to future-proof the maritime supply chain.’

Click here to access the report, Exploring shipping’s transition to a circular industry

Ian Taylor