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12° Nicosia,
25 May, 2024
 

Aging global shipping fleet raises environmental concerns

According to a report in the Financial Times, the industry's oldest average age in 15 years prompts worries about the environmental impact and sustainability challenges

Newsroom

The global shipping fleet has reached its oldest average age in nearly 15 years, a concerning trend as the industry faces mounting pressure to adopt greener practices. According to shipbroker Clarksons, the average age of the global shipping fleet stood at 13.7 years in December, marking the highest since 2009. This aging fleet includes vessels that are vital to transporting a significant portion of the world's traded goods.

In a report by the Financial Times, industry experts point to several factors contributing to this trend. Shipowners are hesitant to invest in new, environmentally friendly vessels due to uncertainty surrounding the availability of greener fuels. This hesitation is further exacerbated by the lack of clarity on green regulations and the economic viability of alternative fuels like ammonia and green methanol.

The industry's oldest average age in 15 years prompts worries about the environmental impact and sustainability challenges.

Compounding the issue, a surge in demand for second-hand ships has emerged from operators of a "shadow fleet" involved in transporting Russian oil, which is subject to sanctions. These operators are purchasing older vessels, often considered for scrapping, to meet the demand. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the market value of a 15-year-old Aframax tanker, commonly used for transporting Russian oil, has skyrocketed by 129% to $40 million.

The age of container ships and tankers specifically has also reached concerning levels. Container ships averaged 14.3 years last year, the highest since data collection began in 1993, while tankers hit a two-decade peak at 12.9 years.

The situation underscores the challenges facing the shipping industry as it seeks to decarbonize. Diplomats at the UN's International Maritime Organization have set a target for the industry to achieve net-zero emissions by around 2050. However, the lack of consensus on economic measures, such as a carbon levy, continues to hinder progress.

The industry's oldest average age in 15 years prompts worries about the environmental impact and sustainability challenges. Despite some optimism about increased shipbuilding for certain vessel types, the overarching trend of an aging fleet is expected to persist, with Clarksons estimating a 35% drop in shipbuilding capacity since 2010.

[Source: Financial Times]

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