ICS: Shipping Needs to Be Economically Sustainable

The shipping industry could only be environmentally sustainable if it is economically sustainable as well, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) told the OECD Working Party on Shipbuilding in Paris.

“The perennial challenge facing shipowners is overcapacity, aided and abetted by government subsidies and support measures that encourage shipyards to produce ships that are surplus to requirements,” Simon Bennett, ICS Director of Policy, said.

He further commented that, if governments are serious about helping the shipping industry deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the OECD needs to reboot efforts to have a global agreement on the elimination of market distorting measures from shipbuilding.

“Despite being in existence for over 50 years it’s disappointing that the working party on shipbuilding has still made little progress, with the last round of negotiations on a new OECD agreement having been suspended several years ago,” Bennett informed.

ICS also set out the progress that is being made to further improve the shipping industry’s environmental performance.

With regard to the implementation of the UN IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, Bennett said that, whenever possible, shipowners should only install treatment systems that have been approved in accordance with the revised and more robust type-approval standards adopted by IMO in 2016 in order to ensure that it would be fit for purpose in all operating conditions worldwide.

Regarding the 2020 global sulphur in fuel cap, ICS explained that in conjunction with other shipowner associations it is working on a proposal to IMO that the carriage of non-compliant bunker fuels should be banned in order to ensure fair competition.

Related to the development by IMO of a suitably ambitious strategy for the reduction of CO2 emissions by the international shipping sector, Bennett said that ICS’ vision is zero CO2 emissions as soon as possible using alternative fuels and new propulsion technologies.

“But so long as ships are dependent on fossils fuels, IMO Member States need to be both politically and technically realistic about what can be achieved in the short term if this is to compatible with the legitimate concerns of emerging economies about the impacts on trade and their sustainable development,” Bennett concluded.

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