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  November 2nd, 2016 | Written by

Panama Canal Emissions Reductions Highlighted

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  • The Panama Canal's Green Route Strategy helps reduce CO2 and GHG emissions.
  • The Panama Canal developed software that calculates a vessel's CO2 emissions over a particular route.
  • Software This tool allows shippers to select the most environmentally sustainable route.

The Panama Canal’s contributions to the reduction of emissions from the international shipping industry were presented last week during the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 70th Marine Environment Protection Committee session (MEPC 70).

Held in London, MEPC engages influential stakeholders from across the maritime community to discuss the energy efficiency of ships and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The 70th session focused on the prevention and control of pollution from the shipping industry, which negatively impacts the environment.

During its participation at MEPC 70, Panama presented a document titled “Contributions of the Panama Canal to Reducing Emissions from International Shipping,” which highlights the efforts of the Panama Canal’s Green Route Strategy and how it contributes to customers’ positive initiatives and technical measures to help reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) and GHG emissions.

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 Panama 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.

“By delivering against Green Connection Recognition Program,” said Panama Canal Environmental Specialist Alexis Rodriguez, “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.”