Select Page

The Dangers of Ship Breaking

While container ships have made it easy for society to move vast amounts of goods all over the globe, they have also added to the amount of pollution that plagues the Earth. If the shipping industry wants to continue operating, it needs to work on adopting more sustainable practices. In particular, the industry must address the harm that ship scrapping does to people and the environment.

Harmful to Humans

Ship scrapping or ship breaking is the process of demolishing a ship in order to sell its individual parts. The majority of ship breaking takes place in developing countries. Most of the time the ships are simply run ashore and left there to be broken down. Workers are routinely injured while ship breaking. Plus, they are exposed to harmful chemicals like lead and asbestos. Ship breaking takes place in developing countries because the impoverished workers lack the ability to sue and there aren’t any insurance costs to deal with.

Harmful to the Environment

In addition to hurting humans, ship breaking also poses a threat to the environment. Since ship breaking is done in developing countries that have few environmental laws, the harmful chemicals aren’t disposed of properly. The chemicals end up hurting the local wildlife and polluting the water. In 2009, workers in Bangladesh chopped down 40,000 trees along the coast in order to make room for ships. Now the coast faces a greater risk of sea level rise. Many fish species that used to lived in the country have disappeared as a result of the pollution.

International Maritime Organization

Governments and watchdog organizations around the world must do a better job of protecting the environment and ensuring that the shipping industry respects environmental laws. In 2009 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) created the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The goal of the convention was to make sure that ships are recycled properly after they reach the end of their lifespan. However, only three countries have agreed to the convention’s guidelines.

The Top Offenders

The IMO should focus on pressuring countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India to agree to the Hong Kong convention. These three countries do a majority of the world’s scrapping. The IMO should work with local governments to develop a plan to better monitor the ship breaking. Additionally, other organizations like the World Bank should get involved and assist in the effort.

The Future

Ship breaking will exist as long as there are ships on the sea. Unless organizations like the IMO do a better job of monitoring the practice, it will continue to harm the environment and the workers that make a living from the practice.

Latest Cargo Shipping News

It’s estimated that nearly 90% of non-bulk cargo in the world is transported by container ships, and bulk carrier ships comprise 15% of the merchant ships on the sea. With so many ships transporting goods all of the globe, there’s an abundance of news related to cargo shipping. This post looks at some of the latest cargo shipping news from around the world.

Delayed Shipment Causes Hungry Customers

A cargo ship recently experienced some engine trouble. The ship was carrying food that was meant for grocery stores. At the moment the shipment is expected to be a week late. Some of the food included fresh produce that shouldn’t be left out for too long. When the ship arrives much of the fruit will have to be thrown out. To read the full article visit this site.

Edward Withrow - Ship

Shipping, Ports, and Digital Data

GE Transportation and the Port of Los Angeles have formed a partnership to capture and supply shipping data to supply chain managers. Stakeholders will be able to make better decisions based on the information that the program collects. The Port of Los Angeles is eager to pilot the program because it is the largest container port in the United States. To learn more about this innovative program, read the article.

Cargo Ship Controversy

For the past three years, a cargo ship has sat unmanned at Port Hawkesbury Pier in Canada. Now, though, it will finally begin its journey to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It’s unclear why the ship has sat at the pier for three years, but the owners of the ship haven’t been happy about the situation since they have to pay dock fees. The crew that was originally hired to work on the ship will need to be replaced. They complained of unfair living conditions aboard the ship—a complaint that the owners disagree with. You can read the full article here.

Cargo Owners Fear Financial Risks

In August South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping company went out of business. As a result of its collapse, $14 billion of cargo was left at sea. The collapse has led owners to become careful about which shipping lines they will do business with. Also, many shipping lines are merging or considering merging in order to strengthen their finances. The difficulties that shipping lines currently face are a result of fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. To learn more about the situation take a look at Fortune’s article.

Cargo Shipping and Cyber Security

Cargo Shipping and Cyber Security

There has very recently been a surge in worry about the security of transportation vehicles. However, this concern has nothing to do with the physical aspect of the vehicles. Rather, people are becoming more and more worried that transportation technology is not secure against attacks. Air travel, for one, has been proven to be insecure in that hackers can do a lot with what they are given. Computer-savvy individuals have been able to use airport internet to hack into the email accounts of others, for example, and have even used navigation systems to briefly change a plane’s course. This vulnerability extends to maritime vessels as well.

Many commercial ships were designed in an era in which cyber security was not really an issue. The thought of someone being able to hack into a ship’s networks was nearly unfathomable. Unfortunately, the systems of such vessels have not been updated since their time of creation. This means that the vessels are floating with outdated technology, leaving them wide open to cyber attacks of all kinds.

Researchers have, thankfully, discovered that there is an easy fix to this problem. Operators can simply update their security systems. This would guarantee more safety in the ship’s design, and should even change training protocol for the crew to make operations more seamless. This would, of course, not take care of threats such as piracy, theft, and boarding, but it would protect against dangers with much more vast implications. For example, cyber attacks can affect businesses, finances, reputations, the environment, and so much more.

Cargo ships are not the only ones that must change their protocol. This has to be a nationwide maritime initiative to ensure that our ships, waters, and crew members remain safe. As it is now, all of our ships with outdated systems are intensely vulnerable, and the retreat of maritime vessels into the cyber domain just opens them up to attacks.

This flaw in the security of the nation’s vessels can be fixed with training, education, and time. All crew members need to be aware that a cyber attack could take place, and they need to know what one looks like. Additionally, the crew members need to be taught how to mitigate such attacks to make sure they remain safe and on course.

Overall, cyber security is very important in all technology, but especially in transportation vehicles. When people’s lives, business trade, and finances are on the line, it is best not to take any chances.  

Blue Cut Wildfire Could Take a Toll On Southern California’s Shipping Industry

Cargo Shipping BoatSouthern California’s shipping industry was largely affected by wildfire-spurred highway and rail-line closure on Wednesday August 17th. And things haven’t gotten entirely better yet. The slowdown is expected to cost millions of dollars per day.

The enormous Blue Cut fire’s impact affected far more than the Cajon Pass. Deliveries were slower and schedules were disrupted. A number of truckers, shippers, retailers and crew staffing Southern California’s ports were struggling to complete their day-to-day jobs.

While it’s too early to say how much this issue will cost the trucking industry, Eric Sauer, vice president of the California Trucking Association, says it could cost up to $1 million a day in additional operating costs. Sauer fears that this will have a trickle effect.

On Tuesday the 16th, Interstate 15 closed down before noon. Interstate 15 serves as the main route between Las Vegas and Southern California. Tens and thousands of Southern California residents had to leave their homes due to the fire. Truckers had to make the decision whether to stop at gas stations and rest stops or to deviate hundreds of miles east or west of their path.

Every day, more than 5,000 cargo trucks use this route, carrying everything from construction tools to fresh produce. A number of truckers will now have to drive far out of their way just to get their jobs done. According to Joe Rajkovacz, a spokesman for the Western States Trucking Association and a longtime trucker himself, this could be a diversion of up to 200 miles.

The north-south railroad lines of the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad were shut down through the Cajon Pass for a large portion of Tuesday and Wednesday. This led to delays in the distribution of millions of dollars’ worth of goods.

Three of the four railway lines were reopened by late Wednesday. These three lines were all BNSF lines, while the unopened line belongs to Union Pacific. This was not simply due to a difference in company. The Union Pacific line underwent substantial damage to a bridge, so it needed to say closed. This damage caused a backup all the way to Kansas.

The Union Pacific railroad line is the only one that travels directly to Las Vegas and Barstow from Southern California, home of the busiest seaport in the country. The Union Pacific railroad has anywhere from 50 to 70 cargo-stacked trains delivering goods from Arizona and the areas east all the way up to the Pacific Northwest.

Union Pacific runs a couple more rail lines: one along the coast and another to the east. The railroad is rolling container boxes via side tracks or transporting them to nearby rail yards in Colton and Los Angeles.

Big rig drivers and transportation companies that ship cargo will also have the possible problem of equipment shortages due to the fire. The cargo boxes and hauling equipment that are crucial to shipping are often leased or rented by truck drivers. If these key items are unavailable for a long period of time, or if drivers need to extend the length of their rentals, equipment could be scarce and things could become expensive.

Traffic is still looking pretty congested, and it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take for things to go back to normal.


You’ve reached Edward’s blog page. Check back soon for new posts!