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Bulk shipping freight markets and sailing speed in the context of decarbonisation

Prakash, Vishnu; (2019) Bulk shipping freight markets and sailing speed in the context of decarbonisation. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Shipping faces a dramatic transition challenge to align to a low carbon economy post the Paris Agreement, in large part because emissions from shipping are projected to escalate over the next thirty years in-line with expectations on growth in transport demand. Although the sector is mulling its approach to decarbonisation, this will inevitably have to be by changing the way vessels are operated, a transition to fossil-free fuels, and investments in more energy efficient technology. For the majority of the new and existing fleet, a lot of these options are not available because of costs, technology or infrastructure immaturity, or restricted scope to alter technology or fuels. Sailing speed, however, is a critical determinant of emissions, and could be readily tempered as a way to reduce emissions and carbon intensity. However, the determinants of speed are still not well understood, such that the impact of different policy measures that target speed are difficult to measure and evaluate. The problem is complicated because speed is a function of conditions in freight markets, as well as the technical and operational constraints of a vessel. This thesis unravels and explores these relationships, to help illustrate the issues, scope, and potential efficacy of targeting speed as a way to drive decarbonisation. An economic optimisation framework that determines the speed of each voyage with multiple agents with differing preferences, varied bargaining powers, and under different contractual structures is developed to facilitate the analysis. The framework is evaluated econometrically using a dataset of voyages and their operational characteristics captured using high-frequency satellitebased vessel movement data, along with vessel specifications and shipping freight and commodity market information. The results reveal the elasticities of speed, how those elasticities vary over a range of market conditions, and highlight the complexity of speed’s determinants. These insights and the framework developed allow further assessments to be made on the potential to target speed as a way to reduce emissions and carbon intensity, but, most importantly, reveal the intricacies in doing so and the issues that need to be considered when designing appropriate policy instruments.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Bulk shipping freight markets and sailing speed in the context of decarbonisation
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Vishnu Prakash. All rights reserved. Please do not reuse, reproduce, or distribute any part of this work without the author’s informed consent.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087745
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