The shipping industry will not be able to achieve the 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target using fossil fuels, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) pointed out. 

“Over the next decade we are therefore going to require massive investment in research and development of zero CO2 emitting propulsion systems and other technologies which don’t yet exist in a form that can be readily applied to international shipping, especially in deep sea trades,” Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said.

“This will need to be a key component of the IMO strategy when detailed ideas for long term measures are taken forward during 2020,” Poulsson added.

With regard to achieving the ambitious GHG reduction targets agreed by IMO last year, the ICS Board endorsed the finalization of proposals to IMO on short term measures. These include tightening of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships – which already requires ships built in 2025 to be 30% more efficient than those delivered before 2013 – as well as proposals for a ‘Super SEEMP’ whereby existing Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans could be subject to mandatory external audits, probably as part of the ISM Code.

“We need IMO to make progress with short term GHG reduction measures as soon as possible to achieve measurable additional GHG reductions by 2023, in addition to the 8% total reduction already achieved by the sector since 2008, despite a massive increase in maritime trade over the same period,” according to Poulsson.

“But while these short term measures are very important we want IMO to move on to developing the critical long term measures that will truly help the industry to decarbonise completely.”

Poulsson further said that the 2020 sulphur cap will be the regulatory game changer of the decade that will impact the economics of shipping.

“We are rapidly moving into a multi-fuel future to be followed we hope, in the 2030s, by the arrival of commercially viable zero CO2 fuels suitable for global application,” he explained.

Poulsson was speaking following the ICS Board meeting in London last week, attended by senior representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations.

As the January 1, 2020 deadline for the sulphur cap approaches, ICS members reviewed progress in persuading the UN IMO to take measures to address expected implementation problems. This includes outstanding safety and fuel compatibility issues associated with the use of new 0.5% sulphur blends and continuing uncertainty over the availability of compliant fuels in every port worldwide, a particular challenge for tramp trades.

The ICS Board concluded that it will be vital for the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee to complete this work at its meeting in May 2019, as shipowners begin ordering compliant fuels.

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