Tuesday, November 24, 2020

IMO Considers Industry Funded Research Body to Clean Up Shipping Emissions

Questions Need to be Resolved Before Implementation
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), which represents the governments of nations involved in the international maritime trade, have agreed to give further consideration to the concept of a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) to accelerate the introduction of zero-emission technologies for freight shipping.

The proposed $5 billion fund, which we reported on last week, would be financed by the industry and administered by the IMO in order to accelerate R&D with the goal of achieving decarbonisation in global maritime shipping. The money would be raised by a mandatory contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel used.

Government representatives attending the recent IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting agreed broadly with the idea and contributed input on the industry’s proposal. This included important questions about governance and IMO oversight, the need to take account of the economic impact on states of the proposed tariff and how to address the interests of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The World Shipping Council (WSC), representing the freight industry, stated that they were eager to work with governments to ensure that this initiative is implemented as soon as possible, aiming for the IMRB to be operational by 2023. In statement the organisation said:

“The IMO 2050 climate targets can only be achieved with the immediate acceleration of zero-carbon fuels and technologies. The IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to build a zero-carbon shipping industry, and the necessary funding can only be provided within the global regulatory framework of IMO.”

The scheme was broadly approved of by International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), which stated that it supported the proposal for establishing of the IMRB to foster innovation and to accelerate the introduction of low- and zero-carbon fuels and technologies.

However, the IAPH did express certain concerns, with the organisation’s Technical Director, Antonis Michail, commenting:

“IAPH supports in principle the IMRB proposal and looks forward to its further development. At the same time, IAPH notes that IMRB does not constitute a market-based measure (MBM), and hence supports the initiation of parallel work towards agreeing on MBMs that will address the commercial uptake of zero carbon technologies, fuels and related infrastructure.”