There should be more accuracy and transparency in declaration of cargo to shipping companies, Diego Aponte, President and CEO of Switzerland-based MSC Group said.
“It is imperative that shipping companies are well informed on what is being transported in containers in order to safely manage dangerous or potentially dangerous cargoes. The public may assume the shipping line is at fault – it is our logo on the ship – but many of the tragedies that occur in our sector are down to incorrectly declared cargo,” Aponte said in the company’s Sustainability Report for 2017.
In September 2018, New York District Court said that MSC was not liable for the explosion and losses related to the MSC Flaminia fire from July 2012 that claimed the lives of three crew members and destroyed thousands of cargo containers.
Instead, Deltech, the manufacturer of the chemical transported aboard the ship, and Stolt Tank Containers B.V. (Stolt), responsible for trucking the chemical,were found responsible for not informing MSC of the dangers related to the storing of the chemical that eventually led to the incident.
“And where there have been accidents at sea, we have always taken all necessary actions and moved promptly to rectify the situation to limit environmental damage and protect lives. No amount of technological progress or digitalisation, it seems, can help fix this relatively simple problem in our industry,” Aponte added.
According to the report, in 2017 MSC achieved an 11% reduction in CO2 per tons of cargo moved on a per mile basis, compared to 2015.
The reduction was ascribed to a comprehensive fleet retrofitting program, optimisation of bulbous bow and propellers, ballast water management, as well as installation of scrubbers.
The company’s overall climate action strategy involves an investment of approximately USD 1.5 billion.
“This enormous financial commitment was made possible by MSC’s growing and stable economic performance as well as by the continuous support of key financial institutions,” MSC said.
Commenting on its path toward achieving compliance with the sulphur cap, MSC has been exploring the viability of three key solutions: scrubbers, LNG and low sulphur fuel.
“Based on current forecasts and considering the size of our fleet, there is a strong business and environmental case for retrofitting our ships with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (ECGS). The systems are costly and complex to install, however, with drydock, manufacturing and installation capacity all being potential limiting factors,” MSC explained.
As for LNG, MSC pointed to the shortage of global bunkering infrastructure, especially for bigger ships, while numerous concerns remain with regard to the quality, availability and reliability of new fuel blends.
“Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (ULSFO) plays a significant role in our current fuel mix and we will continue to monitor developments,” MSC added.