New ONE ship Credit Nihon Shipyard Co.
Credit Nihon Shipyard Co.

Following discontent with the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and Energy Efficiency Existing Ships Index (EEXI) calculations, due to enter force in January, Xeneta and partner Marine Benchmark have devised a carbon emissions index (CEI) it believes is the true metric by which shipping should be benchmarking its performance.

The main misgiving about the IMO’s CII system is that it takes into account box capacity when efficiency calculations are made, but not the actual cargo carried by a vessel. This means a severely under-utilised vessel could produce the same high CII rating as a fully laden one.

A senior UN figure told The Loadstar: “An empty ship could sail in circles burning fuel and have a better CII level than a ship carrying cargo, that is not very helpful.”

It has also been implied that ship operators could work around the CII by operating less-efficient vessels on longer voyages, or more efficient vessels on shorter trips. Maersk and 2M Alliance partner MSC have both criticised CII, saying it “does not incentivise cargo optimisation”, which they argue is part of operating a CO2-efficient fleet.

Xeneta says its CEI measure has “zero input from carriers” and is attained entirely through third-party AIS vessel tracking. The measure accounts for the amount of cargo carried, voyage duration, congestion and time spent at the quayside. Essentially circumventing shipping lines themselves, the metric would allow cargo owners to impose an efficiency rating from outside, circumventing the owner-charterer deadlock.

This, Xeneta says, is closer to a measure of absolute vessel efficiency, and has already garnered praise from customers during the testing phase, with one saying the data would have “a positive impact on the world.”

“If I am a BCO, and I’m going to onboard my volumes with a carrier, I want to know which is the most efficient,” Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund told The Loadstar.

However, while carriers would be consulted to check findings, Mr Berglund said, they would not be relied upon to provide the information which would form the basis of Xeneta’s calculations.

“If we look at the CO2 calculators the carriers use – they are all different methodologies for measuring, which makes them impossible to compare,” he said.

Carriers came in for ridicule on social media this year for the wild discrepancies in the emissions calculations presented on their websites. In one example, a shipper booking with Cosco instead of alliance partner CMA CGM, could apparently reduce its shipment’s CO2 footprint by 75%, on the same vessel.

Borje Berneblad, senior analyst and head of development at Marine Benchmark, said: “The sustainability benefits that this level of transparency will have on the industry is a shining example of the power of data.”

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