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Continuing the Sustainable Future Dialoguesseries, which is a partnership between the iCS and the German Embassy in Brasilia, national and international experts met at the Convention Center (RJ), on November 14, 2018, to discuss perspectives involving Climate Change and Maritime Transport


Maritime transport is considered one of the most efficient modalities in terms of carbon emissionsand is responsible for 2.2% of global greenhouse gases. However, according to estimates fromthe International Maritime Organization (IMO), if the current rate of growth is maintained, the sector could reach 17% of global emissions by 2050. Due to this trend, over 170 countries belonging to the IMO defined a reduction target of at least 50% by 2050, in comparison with the 2008 levels.


Klaus Zilikens, the Consul General of Germany in Rio de Janeiro, recalled that both Germany and Brazil are exporting nations and have a common interest in international free trade, whose backbone is maritime transport.


"It is possible to make the transport of goods by sea even more sustainable and to guarantee that there are no disadvantages to the economy and employment. The method for this involves the combination of measures to increase efficiency, electrification and renewable energy."

Klaus Zilikens

Consul General of Germany in Rio de Janeiro

For Ana Toni, the executive director of the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS), the participation of the maritime sectormakes the debate on climate change more qualified and rational.

"Technology will not resolve all our concerns. Therefore, it is important to debate this matter urgently. The economic and social effects of the reduction ofemissions in maritime transport must be taken into consideration. We already have a target. We now need to discuss the best ways for Brazil to contribute to this target."

Ana Toni

Executive director of the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS)

According to the Captain of Sea and War of the Brazilian Navy, Fernando Alberto Gomes da Costa, the IMO agreement is of the utmost importance in addressing climate change. However, technical measures need to be constructed that not only have a global repercussion, but also take into consideration the specific nuances of each country.

"The main contribution of Brazil in the international negotiation of the IMO agreement was for the targets to be achievable. We took into account the context of the South American countries that transport cargo that do not have so much added value on long routes and also thedeveloping and insular countries, which is a reality from which we cannot escape."

Fernando Alberto Gomes da Costa

Captain of Sea and War of the Brazilian Navy

According to Charlotte Inglis, head of the Maritime and Arctic Program of the European Climate Foundation, in order to achieve the target established by the IMO, the efficiency of maritime transport will have to increase by 80%. 

"The sooner we begin decarbonization, the smoother will be the transition. This is a great investment opportunity both in terms of naval technology and fuel. Some regions, such as Latin America, have a great potential to be the future suppliers of renewable marine fuel. Chile, for example, is competitive in solar energy."

Charlotte Inglis

Head of the Maritime and Arctic Program of the European Climate Foundation


According to Isabelle Rojon, a consultant at University Maritime Advisory Services (U-MAS), the announcement, in 2015, of the Paris Agreement, in which 195 countries defined their climate objectives, created the momentum for the resumption of the discussion on a reduction target of carbon for international maritime transport.

"The IMO agreement defined that, primarily, the impacts of the reduction target of carbon emissions for maritime transport in countries would be evaluated before any measure is implemented. This impact assessment must consider issues such as load value, dependency in relation to the mode of transport, response to disasters and cost-effectiveness. A part of these impacts can be compensated by funds generated from carbon pricing mechanisms or the preferential access to loans through climate financing."

Isabelle Rojon

Consultant at University Maritime Advisory Services (U-MAS)

For Ricardo César Fernandes, the executive director of the Brazilian Association of Norwegian Shipowners [Associação Brasileira dos Armadores Noruegueses](ABRAN), Norway is stimulating green maritime transport.

"In the country [Norway], the issue of autonomy of ships is well developed because it isa government policy. There is a signaling to the industry that it is a priority. Applications for government grants to obtain funds are based on technologies that are aligned with this policy. Public-private partnerships also have this orientation. "

Ricardo César Fernandes

Executive director of the Brazilian Association of Norwegian Shipowners (ABRAN)


In order to better understand the impacts of the measures within the IMO for the Brazilian economy, researchers analyzed the exports of the country and surveyed the emissions of the maritime transport associated with Brazilian foreign trade.


Andrea Luchesi, a professor and researcher at the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities of the University of São Paulo(EACH/USP), is part of a research group that developed a methodology to estimate the contribution of Brazilian cargo on each ship in order to estimate the emission attributed to Brazil. In this way, it is possible to measure the impact onthe Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the competitiveness of the Brazilian exports, and the balance of payments and also which are the most cost-effective measures to contribute to the global target.


In another study on the characterization of Brazilian foreign trade, commissioned by the iCS, researchers from the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute of Post-Graduation and Research in Engineering at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE/UFRJ) analyzed the impacts on the four largest products that form the majority of Brazilians exports: the commodities of soya, iron ore, oil and biofuels.

"In terms of theintensity of emissions and efficiency, Brazil is second to none. The problem is the distance in relation to the consumer markets. Among the possible measures that are easier to implement,we recommend reducing the speed of the ships, which brings efficiency gains; the recuperation of heat; the cleaning of propellers and the use of biofuel. Vegetable oil is the most viable alternative due to its greater compatibility with engines."

André Lucena

Professor and researcher at COPPE/UFRJ.

The COPPE/UFRJ study also indicated that the impact of the transfer of the costs of maritime transport on the Brazilian economy would be in the order of 1% to 3% of the Brazilian GDP. However, this impact is minimized in some Brazilian commodities that have a superior quality in relation to the competitors and, therefore, receive a premium price. This is the case of the iron ore mined in Carajás, due to its high mineral content. Brazilian oil is also highlighted for its superior quality when compared to competing products from the Middle East, with a higher concentration of sulfur.


Mário Bastos Ferraz de Mendonça, an advisor from the National Union of Maritime Navigation Companies [Sindicato Nacional das Empresas de Navegação Marítima]spoke of the importance of cabotage, which involves coastal navigation. This modality plays an important role in the transport of cargo in Brazil - which has 8,500 km of navigable coastline, reaching 10,000 km when the Amazon River is included.

"Cabotage is five times more efficient than road transport and three times more efficient than rail. However, because they are smaller ships, the reductions of emissions are more difficult. Taking into consideration that maritime fuel is 30% more expensive than road fuel, which is also subsidized, if the cost is simply transferred for the shipping companies, there is the risk of part of the cargo transport migrating to the road modality, thereby impacting cities and generating even more pollution."

Mário Bastos Ferraz de Mendonça

Advisor from the National Union of Maritime Navigation Companies

For Alfredo Sirkis, the executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum for Climate Change [Fórum Brasileiro de Mudanças Climáticas] (FBMC), the emissions need to be considered in the broader context. In his opinion, if cabotage can reduce emissions, this should be accounted for in terms of the mitigation of the greenhouse gases.




Fotos: Juliana Chalita



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