How To Choose GHG Emissions Monitoring Provider

by Constantine Komodromos

January 14, 2022
How To Choose GHG Emissions Monitoring Provider

In the current environment where more and more stakeholders are interested in the number of emissions their shipments emit, there is a growing interest in providing visibility of GHG emissions.

You've decided that bringing GHG emissions visibility into your business is going to give you the competitive edge, but what now? How do you choose which service and provider is the best option for you and your customer/stakeholder?

To help you navigate through the options available and to help you select the supplier that will be the best fit for your business, we have documented a list of the top considerations you should consider when choosing your GHG emissions data provider.


Which GHG emissions data do I need?

Understanding which data is going to help you is critical. "The key is to identify which data you need and how you will use it to improve your business or solve your customer's problem", You may already know exactly which data you need, or you may still be figuring that out; either way, a good provider will help guide you through the process.

For example, freight forwarders are using GHG emissions data for each ocean shipment to provide their customers with visibility on the environmental impact of their cargo and offer them the potential to offset the impact it creates.

Another example of usage is assessing the impact of EU ETS scheme and how that will impact all Ship Operators financially. For example, what is Vessel X emitting and the financial cost per current or expected prices of EUA's?

In the current environment we live in with the expected implementation of EU ETS, we see increased interest from the financial sector. Banks, in particular, are looking to get complete visibility on the impact of their portfolio of vessels due to EUA's and potential asset impairment that this new regulation may cause and how to address potential contract/covenant breaches.


Do they use vessel-specific data/digital twin models or something else?

Vessel specific information such as vessel characteristics regarding deadweight, hull design, engine model, propeller model, etc are essential data to consider for an accurate calculation of each vessel's GHG emissions. So, when choosing a GHG emissions provider, you should always ask whether a digital twin is being used to estimate emissions or whether generalistic models are used to estimate the emissions.

So, make sure you know whether vessel-specific digital twin models are used and ensure that this is in line with your requirements.


Do they use weather data?

Weather is a factor that significantly impacts Bunker/Fuel consumption of ocean-going vessels. AIS systems receive vast amounts of raw data every day. Weather data, therefore, should be an integral part of the system that you will choose, allowing for a significantly more accurate calculation of the fuel consumption and the GHG emissions emitted en-route.


Do they measure anchorage and berth time and relevant consumption and emissions?

A vessel waiting in anchorage consumes fuel, as does a vessel in the berth; hence, emissions are being emitted in both cases. Suppose a vessel waits in the anchorage for 20 days, and your provider does not measure actual time spent in anchorage but merely uses averages. In that case, you may realize that emissions calculation may be significantly different from reality. Therefore, you should always ask your provider if they measure actual time spent in anchorages and berths or whether they are using average figures per port.


Do they use the actual route used, and how do they treat/fill data gaps?

The actual route used and distance covered is also of great importance. Let's use an example here. We wish to measure a Container vessel's GHG emissions emitted between Amsterdam and Limassol. If we merely measure the distance between these two ports, we will arrive at the distance between the two ports. However, a vessel did not necessarily call only these two ports. For example, it may have called Gibraltar and Piraeus before calling Limassol and spent substantial time in these two ports. Therefore, the distance and consumption of these two port calls would have been omitted.

Therefore, ask your provider if they are measuring the distance between the two ports are if they are using any other way to measure the actual route used by the vessel. Using today's technology, the best way to do this would be with the usage of AIS data.

Here it becomes trickier. AIS data have inherent problems. First of all, you need to ask your provider if they are using satellite or terrestrial or a combination of the two or any other source of AIS data. Using both Terrestrial and Satellite AIS data makes a good ground base of data to base the coverage of the actual route used. However, due to the nature of the AIS data, there will always be data gaps caused by the infrequency vessel geospatial data are received. This creates another problem. How can someone measure this distance accurately? When an IT system measures the distance on a map, it merely connects the two geospatial points and may even measure an overland distance instead of using the actual route a vessel would have followed.

To ensure the distances are measured correctly, you need to ask your provider if they are using any mechanism to fill the route gap by predicting the actual route used, avoiding land masses, and ensuring the distance is measured accurately.


Do they use the actual speed the vessel steamed with?

Knowing whether actual speeds are used in the calculations or average speed for the whole voyage is of great importance. This is because the speed/consumption curve is exponential for all vessel types and sizes. The higher the speed, the more exponentially a vessel consumes fuel and emits. Therefore, using an average speed throughout the voyage means that there will be a significant variance to the actual consumptions of the vessel.

As a result, to understand the granularity of vessel speeds used, you should ask your provider how they are factoring speed into their calculations. For example, are they having speed data per waypoint of the route used, and are they doing their consumption calculation per waypoint using that speed or not?

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