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The global shipping industry’s CO2 emissions reportedly fell in 2020. The slight decline was led by a reduction in emissions in the largest shipping categories from containerships. However it was largely offset by tankers and bulk carriers and the overall decline may have also been artificially driven by the impact of COVID-19 on activity with the shipping business.

The data, which was compiled by Marine Benchmark, a Swedish data analytics firm focusing on the marine industry, looked at the change in emissions from the primary segments of the commercial shipping industry, including containerships, tankers, LNG carriers, bulkers, and vehicle carriers, as well as the cruise and ferry segments.

Among what Marine Benchmark calls the “Big 3,” they reported that containerships had the largest decline of 2.4 percent, but it was offset by tankers and a gain from the bulk carrier segment. In total, CO2 emissions from the three largest segments of the shipping industry were judged to have increased by just over one percent.

The analysis, however, says that the global industry’s CO2 emissions declined in 2020 by one percent. This, however, is skewed by the segments of the shipping industry that saw the large declines in activity due to the pandemic.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a varied effect on shipping, with Tankers and Bulkers generally performing well, while other sectors faced headwinds as consumer demand plummeted,” said Torbjorn Rydbergh, Marine Benchmark’s CEO.  “While the overall result is a decrease in carbon emissions for last year, the effect may be temporary as the current recovery in global economic demand points to stronger 2021 shipping activity.”