An irresistible force hits an immovable object in the immediate vicinity of voters. Ouch.
By Ryan Skinner (email)
Shipping's long pleaded its innocence in environmental terms. It argued for efficiency in supply chains, even as smoke stacks belched SOX and NOX into port-side populations' lungs.
Suddenly, shipping's going to get the terrible opportunity to put some figures behind its words. That is, ships' operators are going to be asked (at the sharp end of a law) to reveal their emissions figures to port authorities.
Why? Because they have these figures, because port authorities know they have them and because new technologies for port traffic make them important. What's going on here is the collision of emissions monitoring, greater attention to emissions in port areas and e-Navigation.
e-Naviwhat, you say? Many imagine e-Navigation as just an extension of ECDIS, whereby you'll get your charts on a screen, along with weather information, tides, blackjack, sports scores and your horoscope, or something along those lines.
But e-Navigation is more than that. It's about tying ships much closer to shore authorities. We're talking about setting up a big, fat data and communications pipe between ships coming to ports and shoreside authorities.
One of the often-stated goals of e-Navigation would be a rationalization of port traffic, so that ships would not steam hellbent-for-leather to a port, then idle just outside the port waiting for a slot. It would be folly to believe that shoreside authorities aren't going to demand a feed of emissions data from each ship coming to land from, say, 100 kilometers away.
Will shipowners and operators freak out to hear they're going to have to give all and sundry full access to their pollution vital signs? To their schedules? And to their operating profile? I imagine so. After all, Maersk recently announced that they would give shippers with full, certified emissions data related to their shipments. They never said they would publish the same on a Times Square billboard.
Particularly for port areas, greater transparency and novel technology are set to slam into the interests of secrecy. What's your take?