CAA Welcomes MSC 's Shelving Arctic Routes
Clean Arctic Alliance has welcome MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company's decision to avoid Arctic shipping route as a new short cut between northern Europe and Asia.
Clean Arctic Alliance lead advisor Dr Sian Prior was responding to the announcement that shipping company MSC “will not explore or use the Northern Sea Route between Europe and Asia for container shipping” and that it believes that shipping lines should focus on reducing the environmental impact of existing shipping trade routes”.
“The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes MSC’s decision to avoid using the Northern Sea Route to ship goods between Asia and Europe. While MSC have understandably come under fire for their environmental record elsewhere, we note that some shipping companies appear to be thinking about the bigger picture, by recognizing how a ‘surge in container shipping traffic in the Arctic’ could have a detrimental impact on the environment, ” Dr Prior said.
“It is too early to tell whether this is the beginning of a new trend in the shipping industry. In recent weeks we have seen shipping company Oldendorff Carriers claiming the environmental benefits of using the Northern Sea Route, while some companies, such as COSCO and Maersk, are clearly expanding their operations in the Arctic. However, MSC’s announcement demonstrates that some shipping companies appear to be taking their environmental responsibilities seriously.”
“The Clean Arctic Alliance believes that current environmental protection regulation is not adequate to address the risks of international shipping operating in Arctic waters. As a first step, we are calling for an International Maritime Organization ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic waters and the introduction of measures to reduce black carbon emissions by switching to distillate fuels. Any decision by industry which reduces the risks to the Arctic, including by choosing to not use Arctic sea routes, is to be welcomed,” she added.
“While using the Northern Sea Route has long been touted as a faster, or lower cost option for shipping companies, with consequential lower carbon emissions, there is clearly an emerging realization that the risks of a heavy fuel oil spill or the impact of increased black carbon emissions in the Arctic, and the consequences on our climate and global environment are unacceptable. The Clean Arctic Alliance hopes that the decision adopted by MSC – and others, like Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM – will send a clear message to the shipping industry that it is necessary to support environmentally responsible decision-making when making decisions about future routes and operations.”
When the IPCC press conference to launch the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) was released on September 25th, its Summary for Policymakers included recognition that shipping activity in the Arctic has increased over the past two decades, and highlights the need for urgent action to ensure that environmental regulation keeps pace with the increasing interest in Arctic shipping routes.