Emission Controls and Regulations for Transport Departments in UK - Paper Example

Published: 2021-07-09
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Wesleyan University
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In UK, emission controls and regulations for transport departments are enshrined under the European Union (EU) Law and the MARPOL Annex VI Convention. The UK government has in the past made serious commitment to ensuring the achievement of energy efficiency in all sectors of its economy. The same has also been evident in as far as pollution and emission control is concerned. The legal frame work that is however responsible for institutionalization of this principle is found under Directive 2012/33/EU, which binds the European nation to compliance with the MARPOL Convention (Kanellos 2014, p. 335). In the past, and as could be observed in the Merchant Act 1995, the EU law did not lay much emphasis on the need to control emissions and maximize on energy efficiency. However, the current decade has seen the EU become increasingly serious about the matter, as it currently insists on member states observing regulations provided under MARPOL Annex VI.

As the international landmark, regulatory reference, the MARPOL Convention, under Chapter 4, enlists the measures and controls for shipping firms to observe. Through the Energy Efficiency Design Index, the convention makes it mandatory for ship manufacturers and shipping firms to meet energy efficiency and emissions control as provisioned under the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP). The SEEMP as a regulatory reference has been in effect since its inception in 2013. It applies to all ships that exceed 400 gross tonnage (Johnson et al. 2013, p. 3). On the international scene, the Climate Change Act 2008 provides the legal framework that regulates global emissions, for the UK, the target has been to ensure an 80% reduction in emissions before 2050.

The regulatory references identified above are of great importance to the marine industries since they rely heavily on energy and shipping services. The industries are therefore directly implicated by the regulations as part of the legal frame works within which they operate (Maragkogianni et al. 2016, p. 5). It is therefore their responsibility to meet the energy efficiency standards as required by the law, and as well maintain the approved levels of emission while providing shipping services.

Background to the Regulation Changes

The EEDI was primarily developed to control the production and use of equipment and engines that run on energy therefore contribute to air pollution. For the shipping industry, the EEDI stipulates the energy efficiency limits that different ships should observe per capacity mile. The EEDI however, does not provision particular technologies or mechanisms for adoption, rather, it requires industries to keep emissions below certain levels. The EEDI CO2 reduction agenda aims at narrowing down the limits by 10% after every 5 years meant to accommodate emerging technologies and encourage innovation on ways to meet energy efficiency (Jafarzadeh and Utne 2014, p. 610).

The SEEMP on the other hand prescribes the mechanisms that shipping industries should observe to maximize on energy efficiency at minimum costs. The SEEMP is more objective as it even provides the measures and performance indicators for shipping industries (Perera and Mo 2016, p. 340). Through the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator for Instance (EEOI), which is an energy efficiency and emission-monitoring tool, the SEEMP sets best practices for new ships and pre-existing ones. Regulation changes for the shipping industries have been necessitated by the recent trends in global warming and calls for sustainability (Besikci et al., 2016, p. 395). The rise of environmentalists and ecologically conscious campaigns also sensitizes governments and organizations on the need to conserve and manage non-renewable resources sustainably. The shipping industry is directly implicated by the regulation changes since it relies on high-energy fuels to run engines (Zhou and Wang 2014, p. 175). The growth of the shipping industry has on the other hand resulted to an increase in emissions and utilization of non-renewable energy resources, and hence the calls for radical changes.


Currently, shipping industries are required to maintain high levels of energy efficiency and minimize carbon emissions. The industries are therefore expected to lookout for the best carbon reduction technologies in the market and alternative sources of energy that are renewable. This is part of sustainability measures meant to help the industries reduce costs on fuel and eliminate the type of energy wastage the results to air pollution (Psaraftis and Kontovas 2013, p. 340). To meet these requirements, current regulations require shipping industries to use fuel and energy sources with a low carbon content. In UK, the regulations are straightforward, shipping industries are required to integrate the emission reduction technologies as provisioned by the SEEMP and EEDI (Dragovis 2016, p. 10). Such technologies would for instance include the use of Carbon Capture and Storage technologies, which check emissions and filter carbon from exhaust.

Actions Required

Shipping industries are currently required to engage in a continuous improvement process to achieve energy efficiency and minimize emissions. To achieve this, four key processes need to be effectively undertaken in order to meet the objectives, these are planning, implementation, monitoring, and self-evaluation.

The planning process involves conducting an assessment on current practices and energy consumption by the ship owners, to identify areas that can be improved to increase energy efficiency. The process involves taking specific measures like speed optimization and machinery operations against prescribed conditions by a company (Vogler and Sattler 2015, p. 35). Formulation of objectives then follows the planning process.

Implementation involves developing new measures to control energy consumption and improve usage. The process is directed towards eliminating inefficiencies and shortfalls in the system, which helps minimize wastage and hence emission (Alwan et al., 2017, P. 350). This result of this process is a series of tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve the goals set in the planning stage.

The monitoring process comes after the tasks have been implemented. It is done to determine the extent to which objective shave been accomplished by measuring the levels of emission and efficiencies in energy consumption (Cullinane and Bergqvist 2014, p. 12). For effectiveness, monitoring is done with respect to international standards to ensure that the ship owners maintain compliance with governing laws.

Self-evaluation and improvement is done to inform the next planning cycle as the causes of inefficiency have already been identified. The process involves assessing the effectiveness of current approaches against pre-established objectives, and it is done on individual ships. Measures to improve energy consumption are then identified and set for implementation in the subsequent stages as the cycle is repeated (Gibbs et al. 2014, p. 340).

Options Available

The shipping firm could optimize on the following to improve its energy efficiency:

Engaging in operations that are fuel efficient

Techniques such as speed optimization, weather routing and strategic voyage planning that could help minimize fuel consumption, improve shipping efficiency and enhance voyage execution could find use.

Effective Ship Handling

Here the ship owners need to ensure that ballast and trim operate at optimum levels and speed. Propellers designed to ease movement and improve efficiency are also recommended (Lai et al. 2011, p. 635). SEEMP recommendations also encourage ship owners to optimize on heading control systems and radar to keep ships constantly on track.

Propulsion system maintenance

This involves keeping the propellers at optimum working conditions by keeping heat levels at minimum and greasing moving parts.

The following options also exist for ship owners to minimize emissions and meet required standards. Minimizing energy consumption is an option that follows from the previous logic on achieving energy efficiency. The same approach ensures that the amount of output from energy consumption is minimized (Gilbert et al. 2017, p. 13). This translates to reduction in emissions as the main output from energy consumption.

Ship owners need to minimize usage or reliance on non-renewable sources of energy and instead go for alternative sources like wind propulsion. This option is important as it helps meet the goals of sustainability. Fuels that have a low carbon content could also be used an alternative so long as the emission levels as maintained as provisioned by the law. Owners of huge sea vessels could also rely on emerging technologies that cut emissions like scrubbers.

Proposed Course of Action

To maintain compliance with the new regulations, the shipping industry will need to Comply with the EEDI, the SEEMP and adopt the following measures to improve energy efficiency and minimize emissions:

Review systems and mechanisms to identify causes of energy inefficiency and possible ways of improvement.

Optimize on energy consumption through effective ship handling and maintenance of the propulsion system.

Optimize on renewable or low carbon energy sources and emission reduction technologies in the market.

Leveraging on available alternatives and implementation of changes

Use of the EEDI and EEOI to monitor improvement by taking measures on efficiency and emissions

Evaluation of findings and addressing perceived changes

Possible Future Trends

In future, it is more likely that better ways of monitoring energy efficiency and emissions will emerge. These owners will therefore be in a position to operate on low fuel costs while maintaining compliance with regulations. Technological advancements will also revolutionize ship handling and system maintenance. Through automated functions, ship owners will also be in a position to maintain optimum levels for ballast, trim, and energy consumption to improve energy efficiency (Bodansky 2016, p. 11). Better alternatives to the EEOI and EEDI tools will also emerge as the need to meet sustainability and check climate change becomes more appreciated globally. Also and most importantly, better sources clean and renewable energy are also likely to emerge courtesy of advancements in technology.

Requirements of the MARPOL Annex VI Convention

With reference to the convention and the regulations by the EEDI and SEEM, shipping companies in the UK are required to minimize energy consumption and maximize on energy efficiency. The tools also stipulate the minimum levels of emission and energy consumption that ships should maintain to guarantee sustainability. The convention also emphasizes on the use of clean energy from renewable sources of energy. With its 5 year reviewing strategy to continuously tighten regulations, the convention, SEEMP and other regulatory references are calling upon ship owners to make changes that meet the demand for sustainability (Dinwoodie et al. 2012, p. 115). The regulations are also calling upon ship owners to adopt stricter ways of managing their ships and firms to maintain compliance.


Reference List

Alwan, Z., Jones, P. and Holgate, P., 2017. Strategic sustainable development in the UK construction industry, through the framework for strategic sustainable development, using building information modelling. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, pp.349-358.

Besikci, E.B., Kececi, T., Arslan, O. and Turan, O., 2016. An application of fuzzy-AHP to ship operational energy efficiency measures. Ocean Engineering, 121, pp.392-402.

Bodansky, D., 2016. Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships: The Role of the International Maritime Organization.Cullinane, K. and Bergqvist, R....

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