October 2, 2012 12:25 am

Cargill to ditch fuel-inefficient vessels

Cargill, the world’s biggest agricultural trading house, and two other heavy users of international shipping are to stop using the industry’s least fuel-efficient vessels in an effort to lower global greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs.

In a move that could adversely affect an estimated 10 per cent of the merchant shipping fleet, Cargill, Huntsman Corporation, the global chemicals maker, and Unipec, the oil trader, have announced they will use only the “greenest” ships as ranked by RightShip, the ship vetting specialist. “Those three [companies] alone account for 8 per cent of the world’s cargo each year,” said RightShip’s David Peel.

RightShip has compiled energy information on more than 60,000 vessels, including container ships, tankers, bulk carriers and cargo ships, and ranked them from A to G, with A being the most fuel efficient and G the least.

Traders at Cargill, which has been quietly using the system since June, are excluding ships with F and G ratings, which Mr Peel said probably accounted for 10 to 15 per cent of the global merchant fleet.

If Cargill traders want to use the less efficient ships, they have to make a special request to Jonathan Stoneley, the environment and compliance manager at Cargill Ocean Transportation, who decides whether to make an exception.

“We’re a commercial enterprise and very, very occasionally you get stuck between a rock and a hard place, so you have to take what you have got,” Mr Stoneley said.

Peter Boyd, chief operating officer of the Carbon War Room group, which helped to organise the initiative, said: “This deal represents the first major capital shift on behalf of the charterers towards making greater efficiency a factor in their vessel-chartering decisions.”

At any one time, Cargill has about 400 ships on the water. It is already a proponent of “slow steaming” or making ships travel slower, which can save huge amounts of fuel.

Separately, the European Commission said on Monday it planned to start a process to monitor and report shipping emissions to help lower pollution.

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