September 26 - According to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the total greenhouse gas emissions from global maritime transport are estimated to have been over 20 percent lower in 2012 than in 2007.

The global shipping industry, which transports by sea around 90 percent of all world trade, is thought to have produced only about 2.2 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions during 2012, compared with 2.8 percent in 2007.

The estimates are contained in a study prepared by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which will be considered by its Marine Environment Protection Committee next month.

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe remarked: "The latest IMO study, which uses satellite tracking, suggests there has been a significant reduction in absolute CO2 emissions from ships due to the introduction of operational efficiency measures across the whole fleet.

"This includes operating at slower speeds, combined with more fuel efficient designs on board the large number of new build vessels that have recently entered the market.

"The reduction in CO2 per tonne of cargo carried per km by ships is even more impressive than the headline IMO figure for absolute greenhouse gas reduction because cargo moved by sea has continued to grow since 2009," he added.

Shipping is already the only industrial sector to have mandatory global regulations in place to reduce its CO2 emissions, but Hinchliffe stressed that the shipping industry recognises that governments expect even greater efficiency improvements in the future.

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