Marine vessels offer the cheapest and easiest way to transport goods around the world. There are an estimated 50,000 container ships moving goods from point A to point B in all four corners of the globe. Given the amount of trade that occurs globally, moving goods by water also is one of the cleanest forms of transit.
Still, there is an extraordinary level of pollution from the shipping industry. International shipping is responsible for about 3% to 4% of total carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. If counted as a single country, shipping would rank number six in the world for total greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of Germany.
That has regulators gunning for the industry. Stationary sources of pollution such as factories and power plants, and even onshore vehicles such as cars and trucks, have long been regulated for their pollutants. But until recently, there has been very little regulation over the emissions of the shipping industry. Container ships use heavier fuels that release not only carbon dioxide, but also sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter.
New Environmental Limits Set to Kickstart New Era For Industry
Ships were permitted to burn fuel with a sulfur content of 4.5% before 2010, which stands in stark contrast to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards of just 0.15% for road vehicles. But the International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed standards that required ships to lower the sulfur content to…