Fueling the Blue Economy

Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration at NOAA Energy Solutions Shipping & Ports

Fueling the Blue Economy
Venti Views on Unsplash

In 2020, the marine economy accounted for $361 billion of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and $610 billion of gross output. Moving goods by sea is considered the most efficient form of commercial transport, and the carbon footprint of maritime shipping is substantially lower, per ton of cargo, compared with rail, truck, and air transport. But these ships still require large amounts of fuel and, despite safety improvements, there is always the risk of significant oil spills. As cargo ships continue to get bigger and carry more containers, they also carry more fuel for propulsion. 

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