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UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport Highlights Measures to Reduce Freight Emissions

3 January, 2013: The 2012 Review of Maritime Transport published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) addresses, among other issues, measures to reduce energy consumption and emissions of maritime and inland freight transport, and suggests ways to use climate financing to achieve sustainability goals.

The UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport provides a yearly update on international seaborne trade, including shipping, the world fleet, ports, freight markets, and transport-related regulatory and legal frameworks; as well as inland transport and intermodal connections.

The 2012 edition features a chapter on sustainable freight transport development and finance focussing on reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It provides an overview of recent developments in sustainable transport that are summarized as "avoid-shift-improve" approach: avoiding inefficient freight transport such as empty trips and duplication of infrastructure; shifting to more sustainable transport modes, alternative fuels such as biofuels and appropriate vehicle sizes, loads and routes; and improving logistics, infrastructure design, operations and technology use.

The subsequent sections provide an overview of current sustainability measures and policies in the maritime and inland sectors, including examples of transport-related nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and sustainable freight transport initiatives in the private sector.

On climate finance, the report discusses options for financing developing-country NAMAs through: a transport window under a mitigation fund, such as the UN Green Climate Fund (GFC); a scaled-up and programmatic Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); a transport-specific instrument; or other funds for capacity-building and technology.

The chapter concludes that freight transport growth must be transformed towards fuel-efficient, cost effective, environmentally friendly, low-carbon, and climate resilient transport systems which requires substantial investments in transport infrastructure, services and equipment by the public and the private sectors. [UNCTAD Press Release][Publication: UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2012]