wes amelie unifeeder
Wes Amelie

Unifeeder’s plans to cut emissions have been boosted by its new agreement with ZeroNorth, to provide Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) analytics, voyage optimisation and bunkering analytics across its fleet in preparation for new environmental regulations to be enforced in January next year.

Some 90 vessels are involved in the agreement. Martin Gaard Christiansen, chief commercial officer at Unifeeder, said that it had been chosen to provide these services “after extensive market research”. The company wants to reduce its emissions by 50% per container by 2040, he said.

“We recognise that it is a key strategic priority to be able to connect vessel, voyage, and bunker processes to maximise our fuel efficiency and reduce our carbon emissions.”

Shipowners are facing considerable pressure from their customers, in particular from heavy hitters such as BMW and IKEA. ZeroNorth CEO Søren Meyer told The Loadstar that “there is a high degree of external pressure now being exerted on our sector… even on an individual consumer level, there is a palpable increase in awareness of how goods are shipped from A to B.

“ZeroNorth occupies a unique space in this debate. Our vision is to make global trade green, and that means bringing a huge number of players together on our platform. A lot of our technology development is focused on solving those wider needs,” said Mr Meyer.

The industry is now widely discussing decarbonisation, with first movers taking action, explained Mr Meyer, with the onus on all those connected to the maritime sector to get the second movers to act too, “by showing how decarbonisation is not only critical from an environmental point of view but is also now a key commercial consideration”.

The evidence suggests it may be much easier to decarbonise the feeder fleet than the deep-sea vessels, as although zero-carbon or carbon-neutral fuels like ammonia and methanol contain less energy than conventional fuels, feeders have more opportunities to bunker fuel.

Moreover, some companies are looking at ways of powering feeders with battery power, which would make them completely zero-emission. Recently, DB Schenker signed an agreement for a pure-battery-powered small feeder vessel which would operate along the coast of Norway; and in the US, a company called FleetZero is working on a system of containerised, interchangeable batteries for feeder ships.

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