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Bulk shipping in numbers and emissions

March 19, 2021
Elisa Hauhia

There are several estimations on different sources on the size of bulk shipping, but regardless of the source the numbers are impressive. According to the UNCTAD Report from 2020 the world's seas are sailed by 98,140 ships of 100 gross tons and above, equivalent to 2,061,944,484 dwt of capacity. Calculated by deadweight tons, dry and liquid bulk vessels take up 82% of the total tonnage. This category includes dry bulk carriers, oil tankers, chemical tankers, general cargo ships and gas carriers. There is huge potential in helping this majority of the shipping industry with an intelligent shipment planning solution.

In 2019 the world fleet emitted 614 Million tons of CO2. That's about 3% of the total global CO2 emissions. Bulk shipping accounts for 368 Million tons. Interestingly bulk shipping in deadweight tons makes up 82% of the world fleet, but only 60% of world fleet's emissions. By using efficient planning tools and sophisticated maritime software, it is possible for the bulk shipping industry to cut down this number even further.

So, if bulk shipping makes up 60% of the CO2 emissions of the world fleet, how much of that is actually _for a useful purpose_? We know that about 35% of bulk ship voyages are in ballast. This means there is a huge number of CO2 that gets emitted by bulk ships sailing empty. There is a lot of room for improvement in the planning and communications of the bulk shipping industry. Taking advantage of a fleet planning tool could have a huge impact on reducing emissions.

Sources:

UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2020 https://unctad.org/webflyer/review-maritime-transport-2020 

Lloyd’s List https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1136035/Shippings-big-three-account-for-almost-80-of-CO2-emissions

The importance of economies of scale for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from shipping https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421512002820



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