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Swedish bioenergy majors launch Responsible Shipping Initiative

In Sweden, several of the country's largest buyers of bulk cargo shipping – energy utility Stockholm Exergi AB, biofuels sourcing and trading company EFO AB, Swedish agricultural cooperative Lantmännen and forest owners association Södra – have launched the non-profit association Responsible Shipping Initiative (RSI). The purpose of the collaboration is to promote responsible shipping in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea with a focus on bulk transport.

In Sweden, EFO, Lantmännen, Stockholm Exergi, and Södra have joined forces to create the Responsible Shipping Initiative (RSI) – a new multisector partnership to promote responsible dry cargo shipping (photo courtesy Stockholm Exergi).

Responsible Shipping Initiative (RSI) is a new multisector partnership to promote responsible dry cargo shipping. RSI’s members, who are major buyers of freight services, review their suppliers against a common sustainability standard. Inspections and documentation will be performed in a more efficient way within the initiative.

RSI will work transparently and efficiently with standardised ship inspections. Instead of leaving it to each transport buyer to perform their own individual inspections, a company can perform an inspection and share the results with other members via a common database, said Claes Johansson, Director Sustainable Development at Lantmännen.

Together with vessel carriers, RSI aims to raise the level where this is required. The formation of RSI also makes life easier for dry cargo buyers when it comes to requirement specifications in transport agreements with the vessel carrier.

The standard covers, amongst other things, terms of employment, work environment, health and safety, and environmental issues. With the help of their own RSI inspectors, inspections are carried out on vessels boats used by members.

Open for more members

Participating in the RSI initiative is an obvious and important part of Stockholm Exergi’s work for a sustainable supply chain. In Stockholm Exergi’s case, these are vessels for fuel transport. All inspection results are collected in a common database where RSI members can access the information and monitor the development of their suppliers.

By specifying the same type of requirements we can put joint pressure on the vessel carriers to live up to the terms and conditions. We believe such cooperation is better for all involved; together we can make a bigger difference than each of us can individually. We are happy and proud of the initiative because we are convinced that it can contribute to a positive development for this whole segment of boat freight, said Linda Leifsdotter, Sustainability Specialist at Stockholm Exergi.

In recent times, problems on contracted vessels have been brought to the attention of the large Swedish dry cargo shipping buyers. These include inadequate employment terms and working conditions, plus insufficient safety onboard the vessels.

Such failings are unfortunately common on contracted vessels. It is important that the vessel carriers that do invest time and resources in safety and good conditions for the personnel on board should be able to receive acknowledgment for this, which they can use as a selling point on the market, said Sebastian Tamm, Logistics Manager at EFO, that imports and distributes biomass fuels to energy companies.

RSI aims to encourage more dry bulk shipping buyers who want to work towards more responsible maritime transport to join. The four members behind the initiative make up an important foundation and starting point for this work.

As major transportation players, we have a duty to ensure that transport activities are carried out responsibly. We are very happy that this partnership is now underway and hope that our joint efforts will lead to both short-term and long-term results, said Anders Ripström, Purchasing Manager for Logistics and Transport at Södra.

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