Importance of Sustainable Procurement Practices in the Maritime Sector

Written by Janice Kang Hui Xuan, DPSM

by Janice Kang, DPSM

Ninety percent of world trade is transported on ships is an oft repeated statement within the maritime industry. Shipping is the lifeblood of international trade. Shipping is also by far the most efficient means of transport on a per ton of cargo carried basis. However that does not mean that shipping does not contribute to significant pollution on absolute terms.

Out of the total global air pollution shipping accounts for 18 to 30 percent of the nitrogen oxide, 9 percent of the sulphur oxides and 3.5 to 4 percent of all climate change emissions. (Schrooten, De Vlieger, Int Panis, & Pastori, 2009)

From the perspective of good corporate social responsibility and general conscientiousness, whether you are an operator in the maritime sector or an entity that depends on shipping for their procurement (which would be the vast majority of companies), moving towards a more sustainable form of shipping would be in everyone’s best interests.


The picture above shows pollution at sea from oil sludge discharge.

Why Sustainable Procurement

Shipping is a highly deregulated environment with its hodgepodge of “Flags of Convenience” and varying regulations across ports and countries. Many ship owners have operated with impunity with sub-standard engines burning heavy fuel oil to disposing harmful waste at open sea with no oversight by their flag states who are ultimately responsible in policing them.

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About the Author: Janice Kang has substantial years of experience in the oil and gas industry, specifically in the area of customer service. She is a member of Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). She is completing the course on Diploma in Procurement and Supply Management (DPSM) at SIPMM Academy.

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