Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WSC Proposes Introduction Of Global Efficiency Standard For Freight Shipping

Fresh Emission Control Effort by Council
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE - The World Shipping Council (WSC), the body which represents the interests of approximately 90% of the world’s global liner capacity, has produced a new proposal for an international standard that will control the level of shipping’s carbon dioxide emissions. The shipping industry currently produces around 3% of total carbon emission per annum.

The new Vessel Efficiency System (VES) will, if adopted, apply to new-build and existing vessels. Vessels under construction will be subject to mandatory efficiency standards on emission control and fuel consumption. These are envisaged as being in a similar vein to standards that are in place on modern road vehicles in many countries and will be tiered to tighten standards further to force the development and adoption of newer, cleaner technologies.

However, under VES existing ships will also be expected to improve upon their performance, though they will not be required to perform to the same level as new vessels.

The reason for this is, as the WSC explains: “…important due to the long life of vessels. Most vessels today operate for 25 to 30 years before being recycled, meaning that improvements in the existing fleet can contribute to reduced CO2 emissions sooner than a system that would rely solely on application of standards to newly built vessels.

“Under the VES proposal, existing vessels that meet the established efficiency standards would operate free of any fees. Existing vessels that fail to meet the standards would be subject to a fee assessed for each ton of fuel consumed.

“The specific fee assessed would vary depending on how close the vessel was to meeting the standard, with the fees being higher for those vessels with the lowest efficiency. As such, the proposed system would reward improved efficiency across the fleet and discourage operation of the least efficient vessels.”

The WSC state that any fees/fines would be placed in a fund that would be used to develop new technologies for the improvement of shipping emissions.

With the proposal being put to the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), the body which is responsible for regulatory issues on international shipping, the WSC is demonstrating support for that body’s efforts to establish universal standards.

“The IMO achieved significant success recently in reaching a legally-binding global agreement that will dramatically reduce NOx, SOx, and particulate matter (PM) emissions from ships around the world. It is appropriate for the IMO to build on that success and establish an international regulatory system that can reduce carbon emissions as well,” said Chris Koch, President and CEO of the World Shipping Council.

“The World Shipping Council and its members hope that the Vessel Efficiency System proposal will help the IMO develop a specific regulatory regime that would ensure improved efficiency across the world’s maritime fleet and reduce CO2 emissions. Such action will demonstrate the continued leadership of IMO and the maritime industry in forging progressive solutions that will protect the environment and provide an effective global response to this global issue.”

The IMO suffered from criticism in the aftermath of the failed talks at Copenhagen on climate change. By putting forward this new proposal the WSC is demonstrating its support for that body and that its member are truly committed to improving the efficiency of the industry.