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LOA, DWT, Now CII: Shipping’s New Carbon Rating and What It Means for The Global Fleet

Barry Parker
Total Views: 1024
September 30, 2021

Shipping commentators and observers have suggested that a vessel’s carbon emissions profile will be right up there with LOA, DWT and other descriptors of vessel characteristics.

Right now, the shipping industry’s path towards decarbonization includes numerous estimates and approximations, as well as disparate measurement methodologies for emissions- some still being fine-tuned. Starting in 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will use Carbon intensity indicators (CIIs) to rate the operational efficiency of ocean going vessels, using data now being submitted by operators of ships above 5,000 gross tons.

As explained by the Class Society DNV: “The Carbon Intensity Indicator is a measure of how efficiently a ship transports goods or passengers and is given in grams of CO2 emitted per cargo-carrying capacity and nautical mile.” 

In the meantime, initiatives in the financing realm (the Poseidon Principles) and in the bulk chartering sphere (the Sea Cargo Charter) are utilizing similar measures, or soon will be. The various calculations use similar, but each employ highly nuanced methodologies to measure carbon intensity. 

If those ship description pundits are to be proven right, quick access to CII information, with common denominators, will be needed. Maritime data analysts have suggested that the various measurements- reflected by an alphabet soup of abbreviations, will need to coalesce.

Enter the folks at Scope Group, a European provider of credit ratings, ESG analysis, and investment fund analysis. According to the Group, “Scope ESG Analysis GmbH has launched Ship Review to enhance the transparency of ships’ environmental, sustainability and reliability/safety performance. Ship Review is the first dedicated product to display Carbon Intensity Indicator ratings.” Ship Review, available through the Scope One digital portal, uses analytics provided by a partner, Green Mare Services Lda. & Comandita (GMS), using a platform dubbed “OceanScore”. 

An example of Scope Group’s Ship Review database. Credit: Scope ESG Analysis GmbH

Like other emerging maritime initiatives, data synthesis plays an important role here. According to Scope, “The Ship Review calculations include CII rating estimates for all applicable ship types, currently numbering more than 40,000 vessels, applying the IMO’s methodology and using certified monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) data as well as data from satellites for distances sailed for more accuracy.” They explain further that: “Ship Review is based on estimates of several carbon intensity indicators, including the Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER), the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) as well as total CO2 emitted in a year.”

In an effort to bring some transparency to what is still an opaque realm, Scope noted that: “According to Ship Review data for 2020, 18.8% of vessels have a CII rating of A; 21.8% have a B rating; 23.7% a C rating.”

As the IMO rules come into play vessels in the lower rating echelons (D and E), equating to almost 36% based on 2020 data, will need to engage in corrective actions. Many eyes across the shipping sectors will be on these ratings. 

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