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Maritime Decarbonization: How Shipping Benefits from Meeting Compliance & Improving Energy Efficiency

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Shipping is responsible for an estimated 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Maritime decarbonization plays a crucial role to reduce emissions and tackle the impact of global warming.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set an ambitious goal of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. This is a significant challenge but could also be a great opportunity for shipping companies to adapt and thrive by improving energy efficiency and meeting compliance.


What is Decarbonization?

Decarbonization is the process of reducing or eliminating the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to cleaner forms of energy. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Why is it important to decarbonize?

Climate change causes rising sea levels, more frequent and intense storms, and other devastating effects that threaten the well-being of people and ecosystems around the world. Climate change also has an adverse impact on shipping. Maritime decarbonization can significantly reduce the industry’s carbon footprint for a sustainable future.


What are the Benefits of Maritime Decarbonization?

carbon emissions

“Consumers are increasingly conscious of a product’s environmental and social impact, prompting industry players to be more mindful of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) footprint.”

– American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)’s “Technology Trends: Exploring the Future of Maritime Innovation” 


Maritime decarbonization offers many benefits for ship owners and managers:

  1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Climate change adversely impacts shipping in a number of ways:

  • Re-routing becomes more common
  • Increased risk of port infrastructure damage
  • Lower productivity
  • Additional operating costs
  • Decreased demand for services.

By significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, shippnig can mitigate such disruptions and costly dangers.


2. Regulatory compliance

The shipping sector is subject to a number of environmental regulations, including the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) global sulphur cap, which limits the amount of sulphur that ships can emit, EEXI requirements and CII requirements. More regulations are also upcoming. Shipping must effectively decarbonize to comply with these requirements and avoid penalties.


  1. Improving energy efficiency

Shipping can go green while improving energy efficiency. This will help ship owners and managers to gain a competitive edge. Depending on measures used, the industry could certainly reap financial benefits due to cost savings and increased competitiveness.


  1. Gaining advantage from carbon pricing schemes

As carbon pricing schemes become more common, companies that reduce their emissions will be in a better position to take advantage of these schemes and potentially earn revenue from the sale of carbon credits.


  1. Social and economic benefits

“Banks, investors, regulators, and customers increasingly expect shipping companies to measure their carbon footprint.”

– Singapore Maritime Foundation’s IAP Report (2021) on “Decarbonisation Pathways for the Global Maritime Industry”  


Maritime decarbonization can enhance maritime’s reputation and make it more attractive to customers who are concerned about the environment. Transitioning to cleaner forms of energy can also create new jobs in the renewable energy sector and stimulate economic growth. The long-term benefits of reducing emissions clearly outweigh the short-term costs. The key is to decarbonize in an effective and cost-efficient manner.


How Can Shipping Decarbonize Effectively?

comp screen

Shipping has a unique opportunity to lead the way in maritime decarbonization, paving a path for a more sustainable future.

So, how can the industry decarbonize effectively?

  1. Improving energy efficiency

By using more energy-efficient ships and equipment, the industry can reduce its energy consumption and emissions. Retrofitting ships with energy-efficient hull coatings and propellers, for example, can reduce fuel consumption.


  1. Transitioning to cleaner forms of energy

The shipping sector can transition to cleaner forms of energy, such as electric or hydrogen-powered ships, which have significantly lower emissions compared to traditional fossil fuel-powered vessels.


  1. Using alternative fuels

The industry can function as a ‘green link’ in the use of alternative fuels, such as biofuels or liquified natural gas (LNG), which have lower carbon emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels. Indeed, switching from petroleum-based fuels to green fuels could drastically reduce shipping’s impact on the climate crisis.

Learn more about latest technology trends for alternative fuels and carbon capture.


  1. Digitalisation for greater benefits:

Digital technology (such as BASSnet Fleet Management Systems) enables paperless operations. Depending on the software used, ship owners and managers can gain remote functionality to effectively decarbonize while enhancing efficiency and tracking compliance.


Here’s why digitalisation is so important:

  • Optimizing vessel routes: Digital tools can be used to plan the most efficient routes, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
  • Improving vessel performance: Digital technologies can be used to monitor and analyse a ship’s performance in real-time, allowing for adjustments to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Managing logistics: Digitalisation can be used to optimize the supply chain, reducing the need for unnecessary transportation and emissions.
  • Empowering data driven decision-making: Digitalisation can provide access to real-time data on vessel performance, fuel consumption and emissions, which can be used to make more informed decisions about how to reduce the environmental impact of shipping.
  • Collaboration: Digitalisation can enable better collaboration between ship owners, operators, regulators, and other stakeholders to achieve common goals for maritime decarbonization.


  1. Aligning across key value chains

Given the complexity of the maritime ecosystem, it’s essential to align efforts across three key value chains to ensure effective decarbonization: the marine fuel value chain, the shipbuilding value chain and the maritime operations value chain.


  1. Crew training for effective maritime decarbonization

 It’s estimated that 80,000 seafarers will be due for carbon upskilling by mid-2030. It’s essential to properly prepare crew with the right training to take the next step forward. Without proper knowledge on goals, methods and processes to decarbonize and comply with regulations, especially on the usage of new technology, it will be difficult to execute on reducing carbon emissions.


Read more about the 10 point action plan developed by the Maritime Just Transition Task Force to center seafarers at the heart of decarbonization efforts, including three decarbonization scenarios in a new study commissioned to provide insight on worker upskilling.

All these methods will certainly aid in the shift to sustainable shipping.

For now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of maritime digitalisation.


How Can Digitalisation Aid in Going Green?

CII Calculator

“Maritime decarbonization plays a crucial role in mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions. However, the process can be challenging, especially if you don’t use the right tools. That’s why we specifically designed BASSnet Environmental Management to offer a streamlined solution for calculating and reporting emissions.”

-Rajesh Purkar, VP of Product Management (Marine Operations), BASS Software


There are many challenges faced by ship owners and managers when it comes to going green, for example:

  • Tracking large sets of emissions data accurately, often across a huge fleet of vessels
  • Optimising vessel journeys to meet emission targets efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Accurately reporting emissions data for regulatory compliance
  • Ensuring detailed visibility into environmental KPIs to inform decision-making.

Digitalisation is a powerful solution to solve these challenges using the latest technology.

Maritime enterprise resource planning (ERP) software like BASSnet Fleet Management Systems, for example, enables ship owners and managers to gain visibility into fuel consumption, emissions, and regulatory compliance in an instant. Such software can help companies make more data-driven decisions that reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency and eventually encourage maritime decarbonization.

BASSnet’s Environmental Management module is particularly helpful by enabling ship owners and managers to:

  • easily track and monitor emissions using a centralised platform.
  • monitor progress towards meeting regulatory requirements.
  • identify areas for improvement and implement strategies for reducing emissions, such as optimizing routes or transitioning to cleaner forms of energy.
  • be enabled to become more energy efficient.
  • manage compliance with environmental regulations, such as the IMO’s CII requirements. BASS’s new CII Calculator for example, will enable customers to calculate their vessels’ latest CII values by using data recorded within BASSnet’s Electronic Logs and Vessel Particulars sub modules. This will save time and provide an accurate, holistic view of CII data for reporting.
  • gain visibility into regulatory requirements to help avoid potential penalties and maintain their organisation’s reputation for sustainability.

In addition, by using data analytics software, such as the BASSnet Business Intelligence (BI) Dashboard, companies can harness the power of data visualisation for valuable insights on environmental KPIs.

Such business intelligence can assist shipping companies to navigate the complex and ever-changing regulatory landscape with confidence, positioning themselves for success and promote maritime decarbonization.


Conclusion: A Path to a Sustainable and Prosperous Future

The world is moving forward into a low-carbon future. Maritime decarbonization can be challenging but it can also bring strong benefits to the shipping industry if done right.

It’s time for maritime to successfully ride the wave of maritime decarbonization for a sustainable and profitable future.

Integrated ERP software such as BASSnet’s Environmental Management system can play a vital role in maritime decarbonization to digitally manage compliance, track fuel data, and identify areas for improvement. Learn more about BASSnet’s powerful solutions to streamline maritime operations in an environmentally-friendly way.

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