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Nova Marine Carriers completes first carbon neutral Italian shortsea voyage

Swiss-Italian dry bulk ship operator Nova Marine Carriers SA undertook its first carbon-neutral voyage last week, offsetting the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by its vessel MV Sider Rodi by voluntarily purchasing carbon credits for a solar PV farm project in Madagascar. The Ambatolampy solar power plant provides green electricity and a stable power supply to around 50 000 Malagasy households. The project developer Green Yellow recently announced plans to significantly expand Ambatolampy’s output.

Nova Marine Carriers SA undertook its first carbon-neutral voyage in September 2021, offsetting the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by its vessel MV Sider Rodi by voluntarily purchasing carbon credits for a solar PV farm project in Madagascar (photo courtesy Nova Marine Carriers).

The 8 063 dwt general cargo vessel MV Sider Rodi had been chartered by a major European power utility company to deliver 3 395 tonnes of woodchips from Livorno in northern Italy to Portovesme in Sardinia, in the process consuming 28.2 tonnes of marine gas oil (MGO) and low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), equating to 94 tonnes of CO2.

This figure includes the vessel’s ballast leg from Genoa to Livorno to undertake the charter as well as the fuel consumed in port during loading and discharge operations.

This is a first step for Nova Marine Carriers and a tangible way of reducing our environmental impact today. Shipping is still a carbon-intensive activity, but nevertheless the most environmentally friendly way of transporting goods across Europe. We are committed to reducing our actual carbon emissions through investing in modern ships, continuous operational improvements, and supporting research into the next generation of fuels. But we passionately believe that action to reduce global emissions needs to be taken today, so supporting an African solar farm plays a role in making a real-world difference right now, said Vincenzo Romeo, CEO of Nova Marine Carriers.

In 2020 Nova Marine Carriers’ fleet of 80 vessels undertook over 2 000 voyages and transported around 22 million tonnes of cargo.

The trade was brokered by IFCHOR ClearBlue Oceans, a carbon market specialist and international shipbroker, and verified by carbon accounting standard organization Verra.

A not-for-profit organization, Verra runs the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the world’s most widely used voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) program. According to Verra, the Ambatolampy solar power plant reduces Madagascar’s CO2 emissions by 25 000 tonnes per year.

This is a first for the European shortsea sector which moves around 1.8 billion tonnes of trade across the region every year. We structured this simple offset trade for the shipowner, explaining the concepts, sourcing a range of high-quality offset projects to choose from, undertaking due diligence, purchasing the greenhouse gas credits, and organizing certification on Nova Marine Carriers’ behalf. The voluntary carbon market plays an important role in helping companies achieve net-zero emissions goals and sits comfortably alongside any shipping company’s decarbonization program. We are experiencing high levels of interest in this type of service from a range of shipping organizations, remarked Trifon Tsentides, Head of Business Development at IFCHOR.

Pioneer project

Ambatolampy solar photovoltaic (PV) plant is a pioneer project and Madagascar’s first utility-scale solar plant. It has been operating since 2018 and has 73 000 solar panels.

In June 2021 JIRAMA and Green Yellow Madagascar announced plans to expand the Ambatolampy power plant and increase its capacity from 20 to 40 MWp as well as providing for a 5 MWh battery.

Madagascar’s power supply is currently heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels which are consumed by a thermal power station. In the past five years, demand for electricity has grown by an annual average rate of 7 percent in Madagascar.

Built by a local workforce, the solar plant employs 10 permanent technicians to ensure operations and maintenance.

In operation since 2018. the 20 MWp Ambatolampy solar photovoltaic (PV) plant is a pioneer project and Madagascar’s first utility-scale solar plant (photo courtesy Nova Marine Carriers).

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