Seaports and ocean carriers pursue sustainable goals

Ocean carriers and ports are not often given the chance to share the stage when it comes to articulating a common strategy. Even when pursuing a similar goal, the tactics can be at cross purposes.

By ·

Ocean carriers and ports are not often given the chance to share the stage when it comes to articulating a common strategy.  Even when pursuing a similar goal, the tactics can be at cross purposes. Yet, “Beyond the Factory Gates: Extending Sustainability into the Logistics and Transportation Sector,” proved to be one of the more compelling panel discussions at last week’s BSR conference in New York.

“The logistics and transportation sector can be a valuable partner for global retailers and manufactures looking to maintain and extend sustainability into their supply chains,” said Raj Sapru, director, advisory services for BSR.

He also noted that a fair amount of collaboration would be needed in the future to counter public perception: “Containerized shipping is still beneath the radar for a lot of consumers.”

Jacob A. Sterling, head of climate and environment sustainability for Maersk Line, agreed, observing many of the advances in transport technology have yet to be properly recognized.

“Consumers see their goods arriving at the retailers in trucks and fail to consider how complex the supply chain really is,” he said. “Meanwhile 3 percent of global GNP is moving on one of our vessels on any given day.”

And moving at a slower, more sustainable pace, he added.

Maersk was one of the first carriers to introduce “slow steaming” a few years ago, and it has since become a common practice among all modern fleets. But not without some sacrifice.

“Initially, moving at a reduced knot speed took its toll on some ship engines,” said Sterling. “But Maersk learned how to reengineer around this problem, and we shared this technology with the carrier industry. Now 50 percent of the world’s vessel operators have reduced emissions by reducing velocity.”

What’s more, this has made had a positive impact for the Port of Seattle, said Linda Styrk, its managing director.

“Because we are closer to Asia than any other U.S. port, Seattle has benefitted by attracting new business,” she said. Now billing itself as “The Green Gateway,” Seattle is promoting shorter ocean transit times and lower fuel consumption.

In May of last year, the port released the results of a study revealing that Puget Sound ports offer the lowest carbon footprint for cargo shipped by sea from Asia to major markets in the Midwest and East Coast, said Styrk.

“This is a competitive advantage that we believe will attract higher cargo volumes through our load center,” she added. “And, it’s an environmental advantage because those same shipments require less fuel, and therefore lower greenhouse gas emissions, from point to point.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

BSR · Maersk Line · Port of Seattle · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Reduce Order Processing Costs by 80%
Sales order automation software will seamlessly transform inbound emailed and printed purchase orders into electronic sales orders that can be automatically processed into your ERP system with 100% accuracy.
Download Today!
From the June 2016 Issue
In the wildly unstable ocean cargo carrier arena, three major consortia are fighting for market share, with some players simply hanging on for survival. Meanwhile, shippers may expect deployment shifts as a consequence of the Panama Canal expansion.
WMS Update: What do we need to run a WMS?
Supply Chain Software Convergence: Synchronization Realized
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Optimizing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs Can Use Technology to Operate More Profitably
Global transportation isn't getting any easier to manage, especially for non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs). Faced with uncertainties like surcharges—but needing to remain competitive when bidding against other providers—NVOCCs need the right mix of historical data, data intelligence, and technology support to make quick and effective decisions. During this webcast you'll learn how Bolloré Transport & Logistics was able to streamline its global logistics and automate contract management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Details Key to Cross-border Ease
Ever-changing regulations are making it risky for U.S. companies engaged in cross-border trade...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo