We must tackle Scotland’s maritime emissions

Kevin Hobbs, CEO

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) third greenhouse gases (GHG) study states that shipping produces 940 million tonnes of CO2, contributing to 2.5% of GHG emissions. As part of the global sector, CMAL must play its part in reducing these emissions.

We have integrated environmental considerations in the design and build of new vessels and harbour infrastructure. In 2013, we completed the build of MV Hallaig, the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid ferry, and subsequently invested in two additional vessels. We’re introducing liquefied natural gas (LNG), a significantly cleaner vessel fuel, and we’re a consortium member of HySeas III, a project to develop a hydrogen-powered passenger ferry.

Similarly, our harbours engineers adopt sustainable technology and build methods. Brodick Ferry Terminal is notable, with roof-top solar panels, biomass boiler, natural air ventilation system, and electric vehicle charging points. Passenger waiting rooms at Lochranza and Portavadie have been refurbished to include air source heat pumps.

But we must do more. We do not underestimate the challenge. Significant investment is required to upgrade vessels and harbours to provide more resilient and efficient ferry transport for island communities and other users, and environmental measures is part of that.

We are members of European research groups and we work with consortia developing low carbon technologies. Our plans will continue to include sustainable solutions, including alternative fuels, as well as different vessel designs and types. CMAL must also consider the aspirations – and policy requirements – of Transport Scotland, and future development of the network in terms of passenger, car and freight requirements – factors that may inform outcomes.

It’s a balancing act that we’re committed to, ensuring the needs of today’s passengers and future passengers are met.