Shipping and Ro-Ro Ferry Group Sets Out Green Plan for the Future

Members Corner

Source: Handy Shipping Guide, 2020-09-08

As one of the participants in an all Danish consortium looking to produce low emission maritime fuel processes announced earlier this year, shipping and Ro-Ro ferry company DFDS has announced its own detailed plan to cut the company's carbon emissions.

The group ambition is to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by close to 45% from 2008 to 2030. That corresponds to an approximate reduction of 25-35% between 2019 and 2030. Furthermore the aim is to become ‘close to’ climate neutral by 2050.

In 2019, DFDS emitted ~2 m tonnes of CO2, the bulk of which, some 90%, was from vessels in the company fleet. Plainly DFDS has recognised that it is essential to take and verify positive action or face the fact that customers, aware of the requirement to be environmentally friendly, will simply take their business elsewhere.

DFDS CEO Torben Carlsen has made a video laying out the company’s intent and has specified three ‘tracks’ which will enable it to achieve its ambitions. He commented:

“I am very happy that we now have this ambitious and comprehensive climate action plan in place. It clearly states how we can and will take responsibility for the environment. It will also help us stay relevant as a service provider in 10, 15, 50 years from now. With the support of every one of our employees, we will be able to turn this plan into reality and at the same time continue our existing efforts to support the environment and local communities.”

The proposed plan consists of two overall tracks covering the tonnage adaption in short term and long term, as well as a third track ‘getting the house in order’ that covers all other things like facilities and terminal equipment.

Short term will see initiatives to be implemented throughout the next 10 years, theoretically resulting in close to a 45% reduction from 2008 to 2030. It widely consists of minor technical upgrades, including solutions like the use of the correct coatings on vessel hulls and decision support systems. However the fleet will also undergo major upgrades, like modifications of bulbs and propellers.

The long-term tonnage adaption plan is all about how to replace fossil fuels with the new generation of zero emission fuel. The new sustainable fuels are renewable energy stored in the form of for instance ammonia, hydrogen, or methanol. Storing, handling and using these new fuels is very different to how things are done today. The long-term tonnage adaption plan focuses on a new generation of ships.

Finally, getting the house in order addresses the remaining 10% of the company’s total emissions. In short, emissions that don’t come from vessel-related activities. Initiatives like electric trucks, energy consumption for buildings and hybrid/electric company cars will engage all across the business in helping DFDS develop ways of becoming more sustainable. Many of these initiatives will be done in cooperation with key suppliers to reduce environmental impact.


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