Shipping giant Maersk pledges to become carbon neutral by 2050
AP Moller Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, has recently made a promise to cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, urging others in the industry to follow suit and collaborate on the development of viable solutions. The Danish group said that to reach its goal it needs help from its entire supply chain, from engine makers to new technology providers, to develop carbon-free ships by 2030.
Though it may seem a long way off, this marks one of the most ambitious emissions targets made by a global industrial group yet. Container ships currently transport around 80% of all global trade and Maersk transports around 1 in 5 of all seaborne containers. The bunker fuel commonly used in the shipping industry is the dirtiest diesel fuel around- it contains roughly 3,500 times more sulfur than diesel used in cars. The shipping industry is therefore one of the biggest polluters, accounting for about 3% of the world’s total emissions. The shipper is one of the top 100 highest emitting companies and currently emits approximately 36 million tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the company plans to achieve this target without the use of carbon offsets.
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Hyperloop in Hamburg
Sceptics may have dismissed Hyperloop as just another Elon Musk fad but it seems that this improbable idea of a super-fast vacuum transportation system is getting much closer to becoming a reality. Main players Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) have both made significant progress and gained a lot of global interest, particularly in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, a joint venture was announced between HTT and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) to develop a Hyperloop freight transportation system, connecting the Port of Hamburg’s container terminal to other shipyards further inland. Once the Hyperloop system has been established the joint venture hopes to market it to other ports and terminals. Together they will initially construct a transfer station at a HHLA terminal in Hamburg, before developing a transport capsule for standard shipping containers. This will be the first real use case of this transport method. The main motivation behind the innovation is increased speed and efficiency, enabling container transfers at speeds of over 700mph, but HHLA also aims to “relieve the strain on the transport infrastructure”. HTT is currently working on a 320 meter test track for transporting both freight and people in Toulouse, France.
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Commercial airline industry talent gap widens
Commercial airlines are struggling to attract and retain pilots as they face the challenge of an increasingly aging workforce and high industry training standards. The leading cargo airline, FedEx, is dealing with an impending pilot shortage; the carrier is expected to lose 150-200 out of its 4,500 pilots this year alone and this trend is expected to continue over the next few years. The reason for this decline is that a large number of its pilots are now approaching the federally mandated retirement age in the US. In an attempt to delay retirement, the company is offering pilot incentive bonuses of up to $110,000 in return for continued service into next year.
It is estimated that the US commercial airline industry will be short of 1,600 pilots by 2020. A large contributor to this shortage is the high barriers of entry for new pilots. US pilots are required to have a college degree, complete an expensive 40 hour course, and have completed at least 1,500 flight hours before they can get a private pilot license and thus be hired by a commercial airline. An additional strain is the staggeringly high demand for cargo flights, which these understaffed airlines are expected to meet. To cope with demand this holiday season, UPS and FedEx will be hiring 100,000 and 55,000 respectively for their air and ground operations.
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