ICS to Incentivize International Shipping’s CO2 Reduction

Illustration. Source: Pxhere under the CC0 Creative Commons license

Members of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) plan to take concrete steps to support further CO2 reduction by international shipping. 

Representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations met in the Faroe Islands last week to review the priorities of the global shipowners’ association, the ICS.

The ICS agreed a suite of actions in support of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to decarbonize shipping.

“It is imperative that IMO Member States adopt a new global regulation to mandate further short term CO2 reduction measures at the next session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in 2020. This should deliver further CO2 reductions by 2023 to help us meet the IMO target set for 2030. We will work with a broad coalition of governments to produce a comprehensive proposal that can be submitted to IMO in September this year,” Esben Poulsson, ICS Chairman, said.

According to Poulsson, the core of the proposal would be the Super SEEMP concept where shipping companies around the world are required to demonstrate their actions towards reducing fuel consumption, enforced via flag state audits.

“But we also agreed to incorporate elements of the many other good proposals made by governments at the last round of IMO discussions on CO2 reduction in May.”

“By coming forward with an early proposal for immediate adoption we wish to support continuing IMO leadership on GHG emissions and quickly incentivise further action by shipping companies. We do not wish to limit proper consideration of other ideas such as speed reduction or the use of new CO2 reduction technologies,” Poulsson added.

The ICS AGM also confirmed the importance of research and development of zero-carbon fuels and propulsion systems that will be necessary to achieve the ambitious IMO target of cutting shipping’s total GHG emissions by 50% by 2050 regardless of maritime trade growth, and continuing to work with other industry stakeholders to explore how R&D can best be rapidly accelerated.

2020 sulphur cap

ICS members reiterated their commitment to the successful implementation of the sulphur cap from January 2020, noting ICS’s plans to revise its guidance to shipowners on ensuring compliance, taking account of recent IMO decisions. This is notwithstanding continuing uncertainty about the worldwide availability of safe and compliant low sulphur fuels, and the operational challenges associated with using new 0.5% max. sulphur blends, according to the association.

“Our meeting welcomed the decision of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee last week, at which ICS led shipowner representation, to adopt an MSC Resolution addressing safety and fuel quality issues associated with the sulphur cap,” Poulsson continued.

This resolution means that bunker suppliers will be “encouraged” by maritime administrations to provide only low sulphur fuels that meet the latest ISO Standard plus the ISO Publicly Available Specification currently under development. In addition, the resolution should result in administrations taking action against fuel suppliers whenever failures to provide safe fuel take place, with instances to be reported to the IMO.

ICS said it remains concerned about continuing delays with the publication of the latest ISO Publicly Available Specification for low sulphur fuels, and related quality and safety issues where control depends on these standards being quickly finalized and distributed, given that the industry is only six months away from full global implementation.

“It is vital that everyone concerned including governments, ISO, oil producers and bunker suppliers redouble their efforts to ensure that safe and compatible fuels – including 0.5% blends for those ships that choose to use them – will be available in every port worldwide,” Poulsson concluded.

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