HANOI: Vietnam’s shipping fleet is grappling with significant challenges in adapting to global environmental shifts, say industry insiders and experts.
Commencing on Jan 1, 2024, and in line with European Union (EU) regulations, ships entering EU ports will incur fees for carbon emissions.
The estimated cost for the maritime transport sector to comply with these regulations hovers around US$3.6bil, leaving global shipping companies to expedite the transition to eco-friendly practices.
Leading global shipping companies, including Maersk Line, Cosco, CMA-CGM and Evergreen, are spearheading efforts to build ships powered by clean fuels.
These developments present a formidable challenge for Vietnamese shipping firms, particularly those operating on international routes, as a failure to adapt swiftly could lead to obsolescence.
A pivotal change on the horizon involves complying with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) criteria to prevent air pollution from ships.
The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee approved the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships at its 76th session in 2021.
According to the Vietnam Register, of approximately 1,500 Vietnamese vessels, over 400 have been approved for the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI).
However, only about 40% comply with regulations, with 60% still needing to implement measures to reduce power. Notably, the EEXI regulation’s most substantial impact is observed in the oil tanker and bulk carrier categories.
However, stricter ranking criteria in the coming years pose a challenge for vessels to comply without continuous improvements.
According to a representative from the Vietnam Register, vessels need to embrace more technologies to optimise logistics processes and reduce waiting times at ports.
Hoang Le Vuong, deputy head of the Maritime Transport Department of the Vietnam Maritime Corp (VIMC), highlighted the unit’s application of new technologies to reduce emissions.
VIMC’s shipping companies have collaborated with ports to install shore power supply stations, aimed at decreasing fuel consumption.
Meanwhile, optimising vessel engine capacity, selecting optimal engine power during rotations, enhancing inspections to clean the hull and propeller to reduce drag force and fuel consumption, and increasing vessel speed are among the measures undertaken.
In the long term, the solution would be to decommission old and non-compliant vessels and invest in rejuvenating the fleet with new-generation vessels.
VIMC plans to build six container ships, four oil tankers and eight bulk carriers by 2030, in addition to acquiring used ships under 10 years old.
The company is also exploring investments in developing vessels using green fuels like methanol or liquefied natural gas for new ships.
However, Vuong said that achieving the EEXI index requires most current vessels to reduce their main engine power, impacting operational efficiency.
He said the challenge for some vessels in securing cargo transportation contracts was due to an inability to achieve the required operational speed.
Sharing a similar perspective, Nguyen Dai Hai, deputy general-director of Vietnam-based Tan Cang Maritime Transport Company, said that charter contracts now also consider criteria related to reducing carbon emissions.
They evaluate compliance with emission reduction standards when deciding whether to approve the charter.
This presents a considerable challenge for Vietnamese shipping companies, especially those with older vessels.
The cost of building new vessels running on clean fuels with low emissions is substantially higher, with a difference of around US$10mil compared to conventional vessels.
As a major player in the Vietnamese maritime fleet, VIMC disclosed that, currently, 45 out of 60 of its vessels have been approved for EEXI.
Among them, 11 vessels are exempt from power restrictions, while more than 40 vessels need power-limiting equipment.
Additionally, 52 VIMC vessels fall under the category requiring evaluation for the carbon intensity indicator. — Viet Nam News/ANN
Source: The Star