TSA welcomes right to discuss slow steaming
The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement on Friday lauded The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission's decision to allow TSA member lines to discuss and coordinate strategies to reduce vessel fuel consumption, including slow steaming of ships.
The FMC's move last week follows a 45-day review period of a request by the TSA, which comprises 15 of the world's biggest container liner carriers. The carriers sought the right to discuss such strategies by emphasizing the environmental aspects of such measures.
'This is a thoughtful, forward-looking step taken by the commission, under the leadership of Chairman Richard Lidinsky, to promote industry initiatives to address the global shipping industry's impacts on the environment,' TSA Chairman Y.M. Kim said in a statement. 'Governments, international organizations, local communities, ports and marine terminal operators worldwide are focusing new attention on cargo shipping operations — at sea and shoreside — with an eye toward cutting air and water pollution. This new authority permits TSA carriers to work together, and with their shoreside customers and partners, to address strategies and best practices that ensure both environmental protection and trade growth.'
TSA has provided Asia/U.S. shipping lines with authority to meet and exchange limited market information and establish non-binding guidelines that help stabilize otherwise volatile rate levels and shipping practices, the organization said.
'Environmental issues and strategies are definitely a new area of involvement for TSA, but in many ways it's a logical progression,' said Brian M. Conrad, TSA executive administrator. 'TSA, and carrier groups like it in other trades, routinely adopt common service standards in providing equipment, in designing information systems and in regulatory compliance. Environmental programs are going to play a critical role and entail major investment in carrier operations; it makes commercial sense that these be undertaken, where feasible, based on joint research, sharing of best practices, and coordination to promote environmental responsibility and operational efficiency.'
Kim, who is also chief executive of Hanjin Shipping, said sharing information on slow-steaming strategies was an important first step. TSA estimates a reduction in speed from 24 knots to 18 knots reduces fuel consumption by 60 percent, and vessel emissions are broadly reduced in a parallel fashion with fuel consumption.
'To achieve true, lasting environmental benefits from slow-steaming, carriers need to share information that will help them reduce emissions without disrupting carrier service levels,' Kim said.
Conrad noted that TSA has held a number of meetings with individual customers and shipper groups to discuss a range of cost and operational issues in the Asia/U.S. freight market.
'While carriers and shippers have not covered environmental matters in any detail so far, customers have expressed interest in doing so because of the potential service and rate impacts, and the potential benefits of extending their internal green initiatives to include their entire global supply chains,' he said.