The European Shippers’ Council has revised its customers’ charter to better reflect sustainability initiatives in the shipper-carrier relationship, it said Friday.
The ESC held a shipper forum dubbed “Greening the Maritime Supply Chain” this week in Brussels.
“The relationship should be a cooperative relationship, a pro-active relationship, in which both parties – shippers and carriers – share a responsibility for finding solutions and sticking to agreements,” said ESC Secretary General Nicolette van der Jagt, who presented the revised charter at the forum. “And within this we have extended the charter to address the growing requirement of environmental sustainability of the maritime supply chain.
|van der Jagt|
“While price, efficiency and reliability remain the dominant sourcing criteria for shippers, sustainability – and within this the environmental record of carriers – is rapidly growing in importance as a criteria for choosing carriers. Shippers expect shipping lines to address their own environmental record with ambitious targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants through efficient operational practices and application of new technology.”
Van der Jagt said that in return, carriers should expect customers’ cooperation to help find practical logistics or supply chain solutions to help improve as appropriate the shipping line’s efficiency and minimize costs and environmental impact.
The ESC noted during the forum that it’s often difficult for shippers to extract reliable data on ship emissions from the shipping industry, but also revealed a number of significant initiatives that could significantly help.
“There are a lot of people working hard on ways to measure emissions from ships and related activities, and we talked about trying to bring some of those initiatives together and establishing a common standard for this,” she said.
The ESC said it has also been exploring with the industry ways to remove waste from the maritime supply chain.
“Earlier this year we opened up the debate on the grey box concept again,” van der Jagt said. “While we can see the difficult issues surrounding this in practice, we have been able to help with the initiation of a pilot project whereby a carrier, in this case CMA CGM, gains greater visibility over some of its customers’ freight flows – drawn from the Dutch Shippers’ Council (EVO), with a view to reducing empty container movements.
“That could result in lower costs, the benefits shared between the carrier and the shipper, and significant reductions in the carbon footprint. We know other models exist, but let’s see how effective this approach is, and maybe look to other pilots and the other models also.”