maersk © Vladimir Serebryanskiy |
© Vladimir Serebryanskiy

Denmark’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) delegation has proposed a “goal-based” approach for meeting short-term CO2 reduction targets.

The UN maritime body has pledged to cut 40% of shipping emissions by 2030 and will assess various proposals at next month’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74).

However, one source told The Loadstar the shipping community should not expect a final decision.

Denmark’s proposal, submitted in February and seen by The Loadstar, is expected to go down well with Maersk and follows French and Japanese proposals.

“The ‘goal-based’ approach means it leaves up to shipowners how exactly they reach the improvements in operational efficiency,” a shipping source told The Loadstar.

“It would, however, incentivise everything from hull cleaning to retrofitting sails on top, to hybrid and fuel cell propulsion systems.

“Maersk will be happy if this gets through, considering it already has some of the most efficient ships in the world – depending on how you measure it.”

The Loadstar has reported that proposals submitted to the IMO before the March deadline would be discussed at MEPC 74 and one would be selected.

This assessment, however, was shot down by another source, close to the IMO, who noted that he had only known “one vote ever” and that had been taken to break a deadlock.

“These proposals will be discussed and put to a working group and from that they may come to agreement on how to deal with it,” said the source.

“This though is unlikely because there will be resistance from developing nations, and the IMO has the problem of needing to be fair to all.

“It cannot have different rules for developing and developed nations, everyone has got to be treated the same.”

The source added that different rules for different regions would likely see carriers flagging ships in countries with more relaxed regulations.

He added that while the protracted process “sounds bad”, it worked “quite well”, because they would not rush to a decision just to be seen to be doing something.

However, it seems there is mounting support for the French proposal to introduce speed limits from chief executives from more than 100 shipping companies.

In an open letter to IMO member states, the CEOs described addressing climate change as “possibly the greatest challenge of our time”.

“As the initial step, we express our strong support for the IMO implementing mandatory regulation of global ship speeds differentiated across ship type and size categories,” they wrote.

“Our preference would be to set max annual average speeds for containerships and max absolute speeds for other ship types, taking account of minimum speed requirements.”

They said the regulation should be implemented “as soon as possible”, with the obligation for compliance placed both on shipowners and operators, including charterers.

Greek shipping magnate George Procopiou – one of the signatories – suggested in October that a limit of 10 knots would cut 60% of SOx, NOx, particles and CO2 emissions.

He added that “the result is tangible right from the first day”, and slammed the use of scrubbers as an alternative.

One source said 10 knots was “probably lower than anything governments will agree at IMO following the France proposal”.

The source went on to note that a 30% cut in speed between 2018 and 2030 would be equivalent to shutting down 48 coal-fired power stations, according to analysis by CE Delft.

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