The Baltic Exchange led maritime emissions project aims to bring stability, transparency and standardisation to emissions information through the implementation of an independent digital emissions repository. Under the custodianship of the Baltic, this repository will provide a single point of truth for maritime emissions information, helping organisations across the entire sector contextualise their own emissions footprints and coordinate action for a low carbon future.
The fundamental driver behind increasingly strident calls for shipping’s decarbonisation is the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by maritime activity. The scale of this challenge cannot be overestimated. The Global Maritime Issues Monitor, an annual survey of industry executives conducted by the Global Maritime Forum, lists shipping’s decarbonisation as one of the top two most impactful issues of the next decade. However, there is also widespread worry within the industry over its readiness to accommodate potential future changes. In the same survey, decarbonisation ranks in the bottom five responses for issues in terms of industry preparedness. This is largely due to the fact that although potential decarbonisation pathways exist, most solutions are still in early development and untested at scale. The need for decisive action on decarbonisation, but lack of clarity over what this action should be, has heightened levels of uncertainty further in an industry where long asset lives and large capital requirements already generate significant inertia.
The dual sense of urgency and uncertainty surrounding maritime decarbonisation has brought with it a proliferation of activity related to emissions. At the regulatory level, IMO mandated annual monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions has begun, along with a counterpart EU scheme for vessels active within European waters. Stakeholder groups with maritime interests are also reevaluating how to integrate emissions information into their activities. The Poseidon Principles is a maritime climate finance scheme currently backed by 17 banks representing $140 billion in shipping finance, and is aimed at helping financial institutions integrate climate considerations into maritime lending decisions. Many owners, operators, charterers and ports also have sustainability and environmental targets for their individual activities. Across the industry, a push has begun to measure, manage and ultimately respond to the challenges posed by maritime decarbonisation.
Whilst this flurry of activity is admirable, it has some weaknesses. The adhoc proliferation of methods, channels and data flows associated with emissions data means information is being communicated in a highly non-standard manner, with different organisations requiring different flavours of information and using different metrics to assess performance. This tangled web of information flows not only increases the overhead on the industry by forcing the creation of multiple reporting channels for what is essentially the same raw data, but also exacerbates the risk that performance improvements and successful examples of emissions management and reduction are lost in an ocean of bespoke reporting methodologies and private communication channels. Standardisation of both emissions data itself as well as its presentation is sorely needed. Regulation is undeniably helpful in setting precedents here, but at present there is limited disclosure of mandated emissions reporting back to the wider industry, and what is provided is often highly aggregated and simplistic in nature. Although this allows macro trends to be identified and discussed, a lack of contextual information makes it difficult for many operators and stakeholders to confidently take control of their own emissions management efforts and make informed decisions on operational behaviours or investment cases.
During this period of rapid development the Baltic has been evaluating how it can support the industry in addressing some of these emissions reporting related challenges. As the leading supplier of maritime market information across the industry, the Baltic is well versed in acting to safeguard and assure information in the interests of industry stability. This trusted, independent position makes it an ideal custodian for not only the traditional forms of market data it has collated for decades, but also the emerging data landscape associated with maritime emissions. With this in mind, the Baltic has embarked on a new program to help bring stability and standardisation to maritime emissions reporting through the creation of the first independent, digital emissions repository.
The Maritime Emissions Project
The maritime emissions project is the Baltic Exchange led initiative to develop a digital repository for maritime emissions data. The repository marries the trust based maritime role of the Baltic Exchange with the technological and spatial data management know-how of project partners GeoSpock, to create a new independent emissions reporting and insights platform for the shipping industry. This platform will serve as a single point of truth for maritime emissions information, simplifying reporting channels and greatly improving the accessibility of emissions information for all parties. By augmenting existing reported data with models, vessel specifications and AIS tracking, the repository will also provide the additional information required to place emissions in context. Users of the platform will for the first time be able to see how the make up of their fleet and its operational behaviour around the world contributes to emissions footprints, and what steps must be taken to help manage and reduce this impact.
As emissions data becomes increasingly important to customers, charterers and operators throughout the maritime supply chain, there is a need to ensure this data remains independently accessible. The repository created by the maritime emissions project is designed to ensure exactly that. As a single point of truth for emissions data, the repository will allow owners and operators to prove their environmental credentials within the market, whilst charterers and other customers will be able to assess this information with confidence. Many mooted decarbonisation strategies, from simple carbon inventorying, through performance benchmarking, to the development of carbon indices and offsetting schemes, rely on precisely the robust underlying emissions information that will reside in the repository, with the Baltic acting alongside industry players to assure the veracity of information and ensure its appropriate use. By acting as a focal point for emissions data curation, the repository will facilitate the creation of a standardised toolbox for emissions communication within the maritime industry, and ensure that all parties across the industry receive acknowledgment for their efforts to reduce carbon.
To enquire about contributing data or becoming a member of the project steering board, sign up at: https://www.themaritimeemissionsproject.com/
About Mark Porter, Maritime Business Development Manager at GeoSpock
Mark looks after maritime activities at GeoSpock, a technology company specialising in spatial data management who are partnered with the Baltic Exchange to build the maritime emissions project. Mark has an MBA from the University of Cambridge and previous on and offshore experience in the upstream energy industry.