Maritime industry delivers monumental development.

Maritime organisations have welcomed a new agreement which will make huge strides towards the industry’s efforts to move to Net Zero.

Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), meeting at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80), in London last week announced the adoption of the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, with enhanced targets to tackle harmful emissions.

The revised IMO GHG Strategy includes an enhanced common ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, a commitment to ensure an uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030, as well as indicative checkpoints for 2030 and 2040.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim (pic) said: “The adoption of the 2023 IMO Greenhouse Gas Strategy is a monumental development for IMO and opens a new chapter towards maritime decarbonisation. At the same time, it is not the end goal, it is in many ways a starting point for the work that needs to intensify even more over the years and decades ahead of us. However, with the Revised Strategy that you have now agreed on, we have a clear direction, a common vision, and ambitious targets to guide us to deliver what the world expects from us.”

“Above all, it is particularly meaningful, to have unanimous support from all Member States. In this regard, I believe that we have to pay more attention to support developing countries, in particular SIDS and LDCs, so that no one is left behind,” he added.

IMO said it remained committed to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, aims to phase them out as soon as possible, while promoting, in the context of this Strategy, a just and equitable transition.

Levels of ambition directing the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy are as follows:

  • Carbon intensity of the ship to decline through further improvement of the energy efficiency for new ships. To review with the aim of strengthening the energy efficiency design requirements for ships.
  • Carbon intensity of international shipping to decline. To reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 2008.
  • Uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to increase.  The uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources to represent at least 5%, striving for 10% of the energy used by international shipping by 2030; and
  • GHG emissions from international shipping to reach net zero.  To reach the peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reach net-zero GHG emissions by or around, i.e. close to 2050, taking into account different national circumstances.

Simon Bennett, deputy secretary general at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said: “ICS greatly welcomes the ambitious agreement reached by governments at IMO today for shipping to achieve net zero emissions ‘by or around 2050’, in line with the Paris Agreement and the commitment made by the shipping industry at COP 26 in Glasgow back in 2021. This historic IMO agreement gives a very strong signal to ship operators and, most importantly, to energy producers who must now urgently supply zero GHG marine fuels in very large quantities if such a rapid transition is to be possible.”

Bennett added “The checkpoints agreed for 2030 and 2040 are particularly ambitious. The industry will do everything possible to achieve these goals including the 70 to 80 percent absolute reduction of GHG emissions now demanded of the entire global shipping sector by 2040.  But this can only be achieved if IMO rapidly agrees to a global levy on ships’ GHG emissions to support a ‘fund and reward’ mechanism, as proposed by the industry. We urgently need to reduce the cost gap between conventional and alternative marine fuels and incentivise the production and uptake of new fuels at the scale now required to meet this accelerated transition. 2040 is less than 17 years away and the availability of zero GHG marine fuels today is virtually zero.”

“This week’s agreement is historic for our industry and sends a very strong message that the maritime sector is serious about achieving net zero and addressing dangerous climate change in line with the Paris Agreement.” he concluded.