OOCL's Carbon Calculator adds up to a cleaner environment

What are the air emissions created by sending containerized goods from Asian ports to North American destinations? What’s the environmental impact of a trip from Singapore to Montreal? Shippers can readily find out by using OOCL’s online Carbon Calculator.


OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line) is a global transporter of containerized goods whose vessels regularly call on the Port of Montreal. The company developed the online tool to give its customers an immediate, easy and fast way to calculate the carbon emissions for every route from the very start to end of a shipment’s journey. The calculations include details on the chosen transport mode and distance involved so that shippers can determine the route that would result in the least carbon emissions.

“Customers also use the information to report to their stakeholders about the progress being made towards reducing the company’s related CO2 reduction targets,” said Stephen Ng, OOCL’s director of trades. “The independent verification of the Carbon Calculator’s methodology and accuracy by American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Consulting provides our customers with the reliable data many of them need for their annual environmental performance reports.”

Anyone with Internet access can use the Carbon Calculator by opening the webpage and clicking on the Environmental Care tab. By simply entering the cargo’s origin, destination, as well as weight in tonnes or TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), the calculator will indicate the necessary transport means (including rail and truck), distances per mode, and carbon emissions. The resource helps shippers to determine not only the best routes and modes of transport but also the benefits of grouping deliveries into larger shipments.


The Carbon Calculator’s popularity is evidenced by other shipping companies developing similar emission-calculating online programs of their own after OOCL became one of the early developers of such a tool four years ago. “The idea came about because we noticed our customers becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint on specific trade routes,” Ng said. “So we responded to what our customers wanted in terms of information by taking a leadership role in developing the Carbon Calculator.”

Rising consumer demands to green the supply chain, as well as regulatory pressures to document and either reduce or offset carbon emissions, are expected to make the use of online tools such as OOCL’s Carbon Calculator a standard occurrence.

“To better serve the needs of our customers in terms of gathering information on their supply chain’s carbon emissions, we’re finalizing some improvements to our IT systems to enable us to automatically generate carbon footprint reports for all of their shipments without having to manually input the calculating variables,” Ng said.

Stephen Ng, director of Trades, OOCL

The enhancement phase also involves OOCL standardizing the presentation of carbon emission data, using a more time-efficient method to generate these reports, and providing a more effective and proactive method to share the information with customers on a yearly basis. The expanded service is scheduled to be available by April.

As companies move towards greater efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, other tools and equipment are expected to be introduced to minimize their environmental impact. “For example, we’re seeing many new containerships being constructed with the equipment to plug into onshore electrical power sources while the vessel remains at berth,” Ng said. “And many ports and terminals around the world are upgrading their facilities to provide onshore power that’s cleaner than a ship operating on bunker fuel while in port.”

The Carbon Calculator is among the many green innovations expected to become a business necessity within the shipping industry with the environment benefitting.

Watch Video about OOCL's carbon calculator