Thursday, October 3, 2019

Slow Steaming is a Successful Way to Cut Maritime Emissions but Could be More Effective

Proposal to Regulate the Propulsion Power of Ocean Going Vessels
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The Baltic and International Maritime Council, these days simply BIMCO, has submitted a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to regulate the propulsion power of ships in order to sustain the greenhouse gas (GHG) savings already achieved through slower steaming which has become de rigeur with some branches of the ocean shipping sector, particularly the new generation of mega container carriers.

BIMCO says that whilst it remains a fact that ships’ speed is the single most important variable influencing a vessel’s CO2 emissions, there are different views as to which regulatory measure is best when it comes to enforcement and achieving the objective of curbing pollutants.

Measuring a ship’s speed is not an accurate exercise, therefore, other avenues have been investigated. It has been concluded that limiting ships’ propulsion power can be controlled accurately and at the same time, it has a close correlation to speed. Lars Robert Pedersen, BIMCO Deputy Secretary General, commented:

“While it is imperative to ensure the GHG emissions savings through slower steaming are sustained, it is also important that owners are incentivised to innovate.”

Setting a limit for ships’ power has indeed already been suggested by Japan. BIMCO recommends the power limit should be derived for each shipping sector from an assumed performance of an average ship sailing at current average trading speed within each sector.

The proposal mirrors similar systems applied to land based transport, road haulage trucks for example are almost always fitted with systems to limit their power output and increasingly monitored by fleet telematics systems to ensure maximum efficiency.

The proposal will be introduced at the Intersessional meeting of the working group on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships at the IMO in London on 11-15 October.