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19 Nov 2021, 13:10
Sören Amelang

Only a third of German shipping companies already implement emissions cuts - survey

Clean Energy Wire

Many German shipping companies are reluctant to implement emissions reduction measures and doubt that the proposed EU climate targets can be reached, a survey conducted by management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed. The sector also remains divided about future propulsion systems, the consultancy said. Just under half of the companies surveyed said they were planning concrete measures to cut emissions, and only a third said that concrete measures, such as fuel-saving ship designs, smart shipping tools, alternative propulsion systems and shore-side power connections, are already being implemented. Asked about the two or three dominant fuel types in 20 years, the industry is still undecided. "For the long haul, liquefied natural gas (LNG, 58%), marine diesel (45%), methanol (41%) and hydrogen (38%) are named first. For short-haul, respondents mention electricity (43%), hydrogen (41%), LNG (40%) and methanol (33%). Asked whether hydrogen will be the predominant fuel in international long-haul maritime transport in the next 20 years, 41 percent answered yes and 55 percent no.

"The overwhelming majority of shipping companies consider [the "Fit for 55" goal of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990] to be unachievable." Only one in three said it is achievable. "The shipping companies have geared up for the transformation towards more sustainability. However, we are far from a paradigm shift like in the automotive industry, for example," said PwC shipping expert Burkhard Sommer. "So far, uncertainty dominates with regard to new propulsion technologies, but also with regard to political targets."

Germany's maritime freight industry is big business that boasts globally ranked shipping companies. But the country's merchant fleet mainly runs on CO₂-intensive heavy oil. The country's largest shipping company, Hapag-Lloyd, said on Thursday it plans to make its fleet, which is currently composed of 257 ships, climate-neutral by 2045 by gradually replacing old and inefficient ships with new models that can be operated with LNG and can switch to synthetic fuels later, reports the newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt.

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