From the fuel-efficiency benefits of shipping to ECDIS training and a guide to emergency response planning, here are a few of our favourite stories from the maritime world.

Study shows environmental benefits of Great Lakes shipping over land transport – A study conducted into the fuel efficiency of different modes of transport has shown the benefits of shipping.  The study compared by the Research and Traffic Group compared the Great Lakes – St Lawrence Seaway shipping route with alternative road and rail transport routes.   Using data from 2010, the results showed that the US and Canadian Great Lakes – St Lawrence Seaway fleet was 594 per cent more fuel efficient than truck transport and 14% more fuel efficient than rail transport.  Put another way, marine vessels were able to carry cargo significantly further for the same amount of fuel.  Shipping on this route also produced less greenhouse gases than either truck or rail transport, according to the study.

A four-phase guide to emergency response – Standard Club syndicate claims director Sam Kendall-Marsden offers a step-by-step guide to emergency response in Lloyd’s List this week.  Mr Kendall-Marsden recommends ensuring that a shipping company’s emergency response plan is up to date and tested on a regular basis, with key relationships in good order with port authorities and service providers.  He also points out the importance of media relations in an emergency scenario.  Mr Kendall Marsden then offers a four phase approach; the emergency response immediately after a casualty and the key decisions to be taken at that stage, then addressing the environmental concerns, including the removal of bunker fuel, the caretaking phase once the ship is stable and the environmental thread eliminated and finally the removal/disposal of the vessel or wreck. 

Danish spotlight on the importance of ECDIS trainingShipping Watch has looked at the challenge facing the Danish maritime community in making the transition to ECDIS navigation, with the importance of seafarer training emerging as a key theme. Michael Skov from the Danish Maritime Authority comments: “Education is crucial. There are certain minimum requirements as to what an employee must be capable of when it comes to the systems, but of course it takes time to become familiarized with the systems. It is akin to getting a driver’s license, which does not automatically make you an experienced driver. This will constitute a great educational task. There are still some years left to learn it, but people need to learn how to be critical and aware of the information they must process” Meanwhile, Jes Carstens from the Danish Geodata Agency points to the task of ensuring adequate electronic chart coverage: “In Danish waters, the electronic nautical charts are pretty precise, but a bigger task lies ahead when it comes to getting full coverage with precise electronic nautical charts in the southwest waters of Greenland.”

This week also saw leading environmentalist Jonathan Porritt speak out on the importance of shipping to hopes of a more sustainable economy.  Mr Porritt, who is involved with the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, argued that shipping should not feat the challenge of operating more sustainably.  Elsewhere, the GL Group held its first Green Wednesday event this week at its head office in Hamburg, with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and the challenges and solutions of sustainability reporting.

We’d love to hear from you on these stories or anything else that has caught your eye this week.

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