2024 Shipping Regulations require weather information
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is always a brutal reminder to the shipping industry that guiding ships efficiently is a huge challenge. Winter storms bring low visibility conditions, freezing drizzle, and sea ice, all of which can lead to disastrous results if not navigated appropriately, including loss of cargo, damage to hulls, and even the possibility of a ship being dropped in the most extreme weather conditions. But January this year adds additional pressure to the sector with new regulations enacted around greenhouse gas emissions and carbon uses. The good news is that in both scenarios, weather information can help those sailing the open seas to better plan and navigate safely and efficiently in these waters.
While most of us know that weather affects almost every aspect of shipping, we most likely think of it in terms of the safety of people and cargo. According to the Swedish club’s 2020 loss prevention report, severe weather is mentioned in half of all claims and contributes to 80% of financial losses. Enhanced Weather Guidance uses real-time weather forecasts, oceanic data, and the ship’s current position to keep captains at sea and tour managers on the ground aware of changing conditions. In the event of hazardous weather, most voyage guidance algorithms can perform several calculations in real time and provide one or more alternatives to the vessel operator to optimize the route. While this may not ultimately be the most efficient route, it is likely the safest route for current conditions.
Climate intelligence is also critical in assessing and potentially adjusting greenhouse gas emissions based on ship performance and fuel use. The Carbon Intensity Index (CII) introduced in 2023 is a rating framework that assesses how efficiently a ship is transporting goods or passengers from a carbon emissions point of view. This is the first year the ships have been rated. The previous year’s data is used in the efficiency conversion ratio. Each vessel is assigned an individual CII rating from A to E, with A being the best possible rating.
This year will also see the gradual implementation of the EU Emissions Trading System Directive for the shipping industry. Shipping companies will now be obliged to waive allowances for verified CO2 emissions, starting at 40% of verified emissions in 2024 and rising to 100% by 2026.
How does weather data help reduce emissions? Once again, improved weather routing has proven to be an effective tool for shippers. Charging routes are planned before flights with the aim of minimizing flight time and minimum fuel consumption. Routes also depend on weather forecasts, sea conditions and ship performance metrics. Recent research by the International Maritime Organization found that by using weather steering and improving ship speed, ships can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 10 to 50% per voyage.
Weather information also represents secondary impacts on fuel emissions. Ship Performance, the core element of the CII ratings, compares the performance characteristics of a ship “as built” to actual performance and whether retrofits are necessary to enhance energy efficiency. Weather insights are important for understanding whether wave energy, bad weather or a combination of both has affected a vessel’s performance for a particular voyage which will be added to CII’s annual data reports.
The shipping industry currently faces many challenges, including unsafe routes or forced long routes that increase journey times and require more fuel. Weather analytics can help the shipping industry plan for disruptions in advance, plot the best route and adjust as needed for unforeseen factors, while continuing to work toward new sustainability goals.
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(Tags for translation)Shipping