Tanker brokerage Charles R Weber is unveiling a plan to offer shipowners and charterers voluntary carbon credits on voyages.

Weber co-managing director Christos Papanicolaou said the collaboration with California-based Bluesource comes after nearly a year of studying how to take part in the offsets market as the industry faces mounting regulatory pressures.

"You have to be careful who you team up with. We took almost a year to find the right counterparty, to make sure they stack up, and they do," Papanicolaou said.

"While none of this is mandatory today, we're seeing more and more owners and charterers come under pressure from various entities, whether that's regulators like the EU [European Union], private and public bodies or banking systems.

"We know that while work is being done to respond on the mechanical side to reduce emissions, that's not something we can address. But another way of reducing is through credits, and we want to be able to help with that, whether it's for charterers or owners."

Bluesource calls itself North America's most experienced and diversified corporate climate advisor.

The outfit's portfolio of verified carbon-offset projects include improved forest management, landfill-gas capture and hydrofluorocarbon emission reduction or capture from industrial processes. They all either reduce or prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

“Because of the current carbon intensity of maritime fuels, carbon offsets are a great way to act now to address what are currently unavoidable emissions of the shipping industry,” Bluesource chief commercial officer Kevin Townsend said.

Connecticut brokerage Charles R Weber introduced a finance arm in 2020, with veteran investment banker David Herman joining co-managing director Christos Papanicolaou. Photo: Joe Brady

“We are thrilled to be able to work with [Weber] as they help their clients navigate the intricacies of climate action and the role of high-quality offsets in addressing emissions.”

Weber, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, is not the only brokerage to enter the emissions market.

In June, Long Island-based McQuilling Partners announced it was forming a partnership with Vertis Environmental Finance, a Hungarian emissions trading house.

A growing number of energy traders and producers are acquiring voluntary carbon credits to offset emissions from their shipments, allowing themselves to claim their supply chains as “carbon neutral” to demonstrate efforts in combating climate change.

Envisaging more appetite for environmental trading from the shipping industry, major brokerages including BRS, Clarksons and Affinity (Shipping) launched carbon desks late last year.

Weber determined early on that the scope of the challenge entailed forming a strategic venture in its case, Papanicolaou said.

The partners will begin the process of explaining the offerings to clients, whether on the shipowning or chartering side, he said.

"We'll be talking about the benefits and the costs and the various ways you can mitigate the costs. I'd love to say we'll begin supplying these next week, but it's a process and this is a long-term game plan," he said.

Asked whether he thought owners or charterers would take up more of the burden, Papanicolaou said: "I think it will happen jointly, to be honest. I think there will be charterers who want to offset part of the costs, as well as owners wanting to do their part."