© Sheila Fitzgerald

Shipping associations are putting pressure on IMO to drastically amend its Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) instrument at the September MEPC, saying that currently it has “unintended consequences”, contradictory to its aims.

The CII requires shipowners to collect data for an annual ranking of ship efficiency, between A and E, with E being the worst.

However, shipping associations BIMCO, Intercargo, CLIA, InterManager, ICS and Intertanko have signed a policy statement calling for the urgent amendment of the “one-size-fits-all” instrument, saying it has “inherent flaws” counterproductive to decarbonisation.

The IMO acknowledged the “shortcomings and unintended consequences” of CII in documentation from a meeting of the environmental protection committee (MEPC) 81, and has plans to revise it.

The groups are also calling for “public administrations, flag states, ports and destinations to acknowledge that the current CII system has inherent shortcomings, recognised by the IMO, and may not accurately reflect the true environmental performance of ships”.

The Loadstar has previously detailed carrier misgivings over CII. Aspiring green carrier Maersk has said CII’s “A” category does not distinguish between zero-carbon vessels and those that emit CO2 at a lower rate, and fails to incentivise full decarbonisation.

And Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta, pointed out recently that CII discouraged the hub-and-spoke model that feeders rely on. He said length of time alongside in port, rather than at sea, is penalised in the CII’s A-E scoring, leading to “perverse outcomes in the feeder market, wherein vessels sail on shorter routes and necessarily spend more time in ports than mainhaul ships”.

This, said Mr Sand, incentivises “…a situation in which carriers move their feeder ships onto longer trades a few times a year to improve their score, adjusting their offerings, and potentially stopping a certain number of port calls, especially in the ports where carriers know waiting times are consistently long”.

And while ships will be able to meet a number of their CII targets by slow-steaming, myriad experts have pointed out that while slow-steaming is effective for reducing emissions from individual vessels, it could be disastrous if used en masse, requiring more vessels to be deployed with more engines burning fuel.

“If a law came out and said maximum speed limit on the sea was 10 knots, everybody would slow down and you would see an immediate, significant reduction in CO2 emissions, but the world would require so many more ships moving the same distance,” Lars Mathiasen, head of commercial decarbonisation at tanker company TORM, told The Loadstar recently.

The shipping group policy statement said that, “contradictory to reducing overall GHG emissions”, the CII had so far prompted some 78 proposals for revisions to be submitted to the IMO

“We look forward to the commencement of the CII review process at the MEPC in September, and continuing through December 2025,” it added.

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