Sustainable Shipping to Meet the Needs of Small Island Developing States

Sustainable Shipping to Meet the Needs of Small Island Developing States

Jennifer Teeter (Kyoto University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5166-1.ch005

Abstract

The main objective of the current global shipping system is based on the container ship model emphasizing speed and efficiency. While enabling convenience for those with access to this hub-and-spoke system, this model is effectively wreaking havoc on the global environment while leaving a world of people out of shipping networks. One solution is indigenous knowledge-based, small-scaled, durable, affordable, energy-efficient, renewable-energy powered wind ships built to fit the needs, means, and context of the communities that use them. The incorporation of indigenous knowledge is a key factor that significantly contributes to the efficiency, effectiveness, and development process by empowering communities to take the lead in developing sustainable programs, rather than imposing. This chapter documents the past, present, and future contributions of the wind-shipping sector, then specifically turns to the Greenheart Project. Greenheart Project aims to create a network of vessels powered by solar and wind technologies for transportation purposes, while developing a means for further regional and international cooperation, sustainability, and ethical business that prioritizes the unique and differing needs of communities. This chapter evaluates the Greenheart Project model of small-scaled cargo, measuring its tangible benefits and discussing potential applications in the South Pacific for regional trade and transport networks.
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From Wind To Carbon

Throughout history, shipping has played an important part in societies around the world. In some regions, it is central to most parts of society, such as in Oceana where sea-routes are the lifelines of the islands there, and ocean voyaging has a history of more than 6000 years. The Drua ships of Fiji reached over 30 meters, and could sail at 13-15 knots when Europeans were still mainly using only coastal vessels (Howe, 2006)

Vessels powered by the wind alone were instrumental in the history and development of coastal regions and islands (Couper, 2008; D’Arcy, 2006). From earlier than the 3rd century, wind powered ships contributed to the development of the Asian trading routes from the South China Seas to India, to eventually the Mediterranean (Manguin, 1993) until recently, when these ships were almost completely replaced with European sail, then carbon-fuelled vessels. Sail has been the primary power source of ships for far longer than any modern fossil fuel-based source. Innovations in sailing ships brought upon fast clippers ships, but with increasing European immigration overseas and technological innovation, the even faster steam ships began developing in niche-markets sufficiently enough to eventually start to replace them (Geels & Schot, 2007).

Nonetheless, due to even more innovation in harnessing the wind, sail ships did not suddenly disappear, but evolved in usage and continuing to be constructed and make gains in gross tonnage for nearly 100 years past the introduction of steam. Rather than transport passengers and high-valued goods, more masts and sails were added, and sail sustained itself in smaller niche markets where speed of shipment was not a priority (Grübler, 1990) In Britain, for instance, steam eventually replaced most sail by an estimated 1940 (Grübler, 1990), and by 1940 motor replaced steam, leaving steam with only residual market shares (Grübler & Nakićenović, 1991). Although there has been insufficient research in the use of small scale sail vessels for transport, sail ships continue to be used in small sail sectors in small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean, and also in East Africa and West Africa (Boerne, 1999). However, motorized ships now dominate regional and international shipping routes, and sail is mainly used for recreation and tourism.

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