The Panama Canal's Green Route Strategy has launched new initiatives aimed at reducing the emissions of ships in transit and rewarding those that promote environmentally-sound practices.
One such initiative has been the Canal's development of software that calculates a vessel's estimated CO2 emissions released during the transit of a particular route. This tool-which factors in ship type, cargo volume, mode of transport, and voyage origin and destination-allows shippers to consider and select the most environmentally sustainable route.
Since opening in 1914, the Panama Canal's strategic geographic location has enabled vessels to shorten the distance and duration of their voyages compared to alternate routes, thus reducing costs and emissions. In total, the waterway is estimated to have saved more than 650 million tons of CO2 emissions over the course of its 102 year history.
The new Expanded Canal will lessen shippers' environmental impact even further. In addition to providing the same shorter route, the Expanded Canal's wider, longer and deeper lane allows vessels to transit with greater cargo carrying capacity, requiring less cargo movements, thereby further reducing costs and CO2 emissions. It is estimated the Expansion will save an additional estimated 160 million tons of emissions in its first 10 years of operation.
A second initiative will see green shipping lines rewarded by the canal, by being allowed to jump the queue for transits. The “Environmental Premium Ranking”, as is it called, will see vessels ranked on their green credentials, with those using cleaner fuels and causing less emissions, given precedence when transitting. The new system will launch on January 1, 2017.
Alexis Rodriguez , Panama Canal Environmental Specialist said: “By delivering against Green Connection Recognition Program, the Panama Canal aims to not only to do our part to contribute to the reduction of emissions globally, but to also promote customers' application of energy-efficient ship design,
“The Panama Canal would like to thank the IMO for its commitments in the reduction of emissions from the shipping industry and for the protection and conservation of the environment.”
In other news, PTI recently reported The Panama Canal Authority's had issued a Request for Proposals to the four pre-qualified port operators selected to compete for the concession to design, develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain a container terminal located near Corozal, in the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal.