Sustainable Shipping

Sustainable Shipping

June 5, 2020

How digital solutions can reduce CO2 emissions and generate cost savings in the shipping industry

Emissions of the global shipping industry have fallen by 14% since 2008, but the rate of reduction has slowed considerably in recent years and today the industry accounts for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions; equivalent to the carbon sequestered by around 1.2 billion acres of forest in a year. Digital solutions stand as one viable tool to greatly reduce these emissions further and also generate significant cost savings for shipping operators and other participants in the shipping value chain.

In this report, Roland Berger evaluates the emissions of the global shipping industry and the extent to which digital solutions, such as route optimisation or fleet management systems, can help continue the reduction in greenhouse emissions generated from the merchant fleet and ports globally.

We begin by reviewing the current level of emissions in the shipping industry, its historical evolution and key drivers, as well as outlining the emissions targets that the industry, and its participants, has set itself.

Reduction in emissions can be achieved via several means, but in this report our focus is upon the digital solutions that are available in the marketplace today. We classify and categorise these solutions, outline their applications with the support of several case studies, before laying out our estimates for the potential standalone emissions reductions that each category of solution can drive.

We conclude that a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions across the shipping industry is readily achievable from mass adoption of such solutions, but explain that there are four key barriers that impede widespread adoption, which relate to both industry-wide and company specific factors.

Despite these barriers, there is a sufficient breadth of offerings available today for each participant in the shipping value chain to reduce their carbon footprint by increasing levels of digitalisation, whilst at the same time improving financial performance and improving safety.

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White paper

Sustainable Shipping


How digital solutions can reduce CO2 emissions and generate cost savings in the shipping industry.

Published June 2020. Available in
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