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The shipping industry has the opportunity to save $70 Billion per year on fuel and reduce carbon and other pollutants by 30 percent.


Operation Shipping Efficiency aims to reduce carbon emissions by bridging gaps in market information related to environmental efficiency, encouraging key stakeholders to embed efficiency into decision making, and unlocking capital flow for technology retrofits.


Operation Shipping Efficiency aims to encourage investment, development and installation of energy efficiency technology to improve the efficiency of the fleet, by providing transparent data to the wider market. The latest International Maritime Organization study highlighted that up to 75% fuel efficiency was potentially achievable.

Operation Shipping Efficiency envisions a future shipping industry whereby technologies that deliver both real cost savings and reductions in carbon emissions are deployed on both new and existing ships. From modern wind power, energy recovery (waste heat recovery from engine) and hull optimization air lubrication to new optimized engines and the latest in rudders, hull coatings and propeller technology, the future fleet will be a flagship for efficient transport. As a result of retrofitting the existing fleet, new jobs and business will be created for ship-yards and contractors around the world.

About the Shipping Operation

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Collectively, emissions from the global shipping fleet equate to the magnitude of the sixth most polluting country, and are responsible for up to 30% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution and 9% of SOx pollution globally. According to the IMO, CO2e missions from the shipping industry will reach 18% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under “business as usual.” Under this scenario, harmful emissions from this sector will continue to rise as demand for freight increases.

Additionally, despite emitting more tons of carbon per year than Germany, the shipping industry is not regulated under the UNFCCC because emissions from international shipping cannot be attributed to any particular country.The most polluting ships are a disproportionate part of the problem: 15% of the fleet accounts for 50% of emissions and just 16 of the world’s largest ships produce as much sulphur oxide as all the world’s cars (New Scientist, 11/09).


There are a variety of commercially viable technologies that if deployed could substantially reduce CO2e and air pollution. Efficiency gains could translate into an annual CO2e reduction of upwards of 250 million tons annually by 2020. Of the 100,000 vessels that spend most of their time traversing the world’s oceans, making only occasional stops at port cities, about 15,000 are responsible for the bulk of emissions and are initial targets for efficiency and scrubbers. The installation of scrubbers - common in aviation and automobiles – could substantially reduce black carbon soot and reduce NOx and SOx.

Future technology developments – including fuel alternatives such as LNG or biodiesel, or other means of renewable propulsion such as wind or solar could limit the amount of heavy sulphurous bunker fuel that is currently burned by ships. If the industry develops the socio-technical systems to enable wide-scale adoption of these technologies, the shipping industry could see even greater emissions reductions.

Key Leverage Points

Carbon War Room is committed to increasing information flow to enable key stakeholders to make better commercial decisions and to facilitate investment in technology and operational improvement that saves money and CO2e. Operation Shipping Efficiency consists of three distinct initiatives to remove current market barriers, with the aim of propelling a more efficient shipping industry:

Increased Information Flows and Transparency

In recent years, a variety of international stakeholders have criticised the accuracy of and calculations behind the shipping industry’s carbon emissions, noting that the most recent calculations were underestimated. aims to bridge the information gap within by increasing transparency in the existing fleet.

Demand Side ‘Pull Through’

Operation Shipping Efficiency convenes key stakeholders, such as the people who rent ships, pay for the fuel, and run ports, to convince them of the commercial and environmental benefits of incorporating carbon emissions data into everyday decision-making.

Unlocking Capital

Shipping companies or ship owners that pay for technology retrofits do not receive the full benefit, because clients and others enjoy the fuel and thus monetary savings – therefore aligning financial and environmental interests is crucial to facilitating needed capital flows.

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In little more than three years, Carbon War Room’s Operation Shipping Efficiency and its partners have made tremendous progress. With the launch of the initially ‘beta’ website, we introduced the world’s first eco-labelling for the shipping industry and provided a global online platform that will give stakeholders the information they need to make informed decisions. The site’s simple search function provides an "A-to-G" efficiency rating for approximately 60,000 “active” vessels, including the majority of the world's container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, cargo ships, cruise ships and ferries. The search tool, powered by Rightship’s EVDI methodology, provides a systematic and transparent means of comparing the relative theoretical efficiency and sustainability of the existing fleet by measuring a ship’s theoretical CO2 emissions per nautical mile travelled. As testament to the immense vessel data feedback received and the central role this rating tool now plays within the industry the beta has now been removed – a significant step for transparency within the industry.

Operation Shipping Efficiency aims to communicate with key stakeholders, such as the people who rent ships, pay for the fuel, and run ports, to convince them of the commercial and environmental benefits of incorporating carbon emissions data into everyday decision-making and that they can make better informed decisions if they use the Carbon War Room and RightShip developed “A-to-G” efficiency labeling tool.

The recent milestone announcement by Cargill, UNIPEC UK and Huntsman to transport 350 million tons of goods annually via ships rated “A-to-G,” has spurred charterers and retailers worldwide to reduce their emissions, save on fuel costs, and increase the demand for more efficient ships. In the next year, we expect the industry to follow suit to take advantage of the commercial benefits of using more efficient ships.

Lastly, we’ve been working with some fantastic partners to see if we can devise an innovative finance model whereby multiple vessels could be upgraded with retrofit efficiency technology with tailored preferable finance and insurance in place to facilitate said retrofits for maximum scalability across the industry.

Work Ahead

 Operation Shipping Efficiency’s objective is to put the shipping industry on the pathway to inevitable transformation within five years. The transformation we seek will be self-financed by the industry and will lead to decreased operating expenses. Evidence of success will be new investment flowing to the solutions identified. This will be triggered by use of efficiency labeling by several major shippers, ports, banks and brokers to create a ‘tipping point’ for ubiquitous use within 3 years.

Increased Information Flows and Transparency

Over the next year the web platform will become more robust. We will continue to work with port authorities, shippers, technology companies, and buyers of shipping services to deliver highly specified information, tailored to each stakeholder group.

Demand Side ‘Pull Through’

We continue to convene those that pay for the fuel, run ports, & buy/sell ships regarding the incorporation of carbon emissions data into everyday decision-making. Operation Shipping Efficiency is working with leading ship owners and technology firms on the supply-side and shippers and ports on the demand-side to encourage the up-take of new standards.

Unlocking Capital

Operation Shipping Efficiency is working with stakeholders across the entire shipping value chain from ship-owners and charterers through to financiers and insurers to align economic and environmental interests to facilitate necessary capital flows for investment in clean technologies for the new and existing international shipping fleet.

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Carbon War Room in association with Elsevier Biofuel TechSelect Go to the Carbon War Room website