Global Shipping Watch: big data to help decarbonize maritime shipping - SEI

2022-06-27 15:07:07 By : Mr. Harry Davies

Global Shipping Watch is an open access platform that links maritime emissions with specific supply chain actors. It enables traders, carriers, consumers and researchers to produce data-driven analysis overcome barriers to decarbonizing maritime shipping. Read the whole fact sheet below or download the PDF.

Global Shipping Watch demonstrates the feasibility and disruptive applications of a ground-breaking approach that matches detailed cargo records and the movements and operations of vessels, as obtained remotely from the AIS system of cargo vessels. By doing so, it is possible to find out what a given cargo ship carries, which companies own the cargo, or which commodities and products are linked to shipping emissions on specific routes. 

The initial data release covers the maritime exports and imports of the United States, as well as the exports of countries including Brazil, Chile, Peru and Indonesia, in the year 2019. Global Shipping Watch is expected to successively increase its coverage, in terms of geography and time periods. 

Around 80% of the world’s trade is carried by sea. While maritime shipping is an environmentally efficient means of transport per unit of cargo, the sheer volume of maritime trade results in nearly 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – more than the aviation sector. Maritime shipping also contributes disproportionately to air pollution in many densely populated coastal areas – a global health issue of increasing concern. 

The International Maritime Organization and several companies have ambitious commitments to curb shipping emissions and reduce fuel consumption. But this transition can only succeed if all actors in the global supply chain, from the maritime sector itself to governments, finance institutions, retailers, traders and consumers, have access to better data and emissions monitoring capabilities. 

It has so far been impossible to associate maritime transport emissions to a specific company, traded product, country or consumer choice. This is a major barrier to accurately assessing scope 3 emissions in corporate carbon reporting, and to consumers in understanding the real footprint of their choices. 

Global Shipping Watch targets this gap by bringing a new level of analytical depth, accountability and transparency to global maritime shipping and international supply chains. Furthermore, by mapping the role of individual cargo owners – often key traders and retailers in global chains – Global Shipping Watch aims to help bring the maritime shipping sector into broader efforts to make supply chains more sustainable, from production to consumption. 

Global Shipping Watch can specifically support efforts to decarbonize the shipping sector by: 

GSW links detailed cargo data and emissions per vessel, at scale. The underlying peer-reviewed methodology (Schim van der Loeff et al. 2018 ) consists of five steps: 

Global Shipping Watch can be accessed at: 

The current alpha release aims to demonstrate the power and applications of the underlying methodology in order to catalyze uptake by the private and public sectors. 

With this pilot platform we also seek support to enable us to successively increase the geographical and temporal coverage of the platform, to include most of global maritime trade, while providing concrete applications and use cases. 

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