A group of eight trade organizations that collectively represent 90% of the world’s merchant fleet have proposed a collaborative shipping research and development program to help eliminate CO2 emissions from international shipping.
Their plan includes funding the program with $5 billion over a 10-year period.
The shipowner groups said they are seeking to accelerate the development of commercially viable zero-carbon emission ships by the early 2030s.
The groups making the proposal include organizations that represent a broad base of shipping companies – BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping – as well as groups that represent particular sectors of the shipping industry: the World Shipping Council, which represents the container liner industry; Cruise Lines International Association; Interferry; Intercargo, which represents dry bulk carriers; Intertanko, which represents tanker operators; and the International Parcel Tankers Association.
In a joint press release, the groups note “international maritime transport carries around 90% of global trade and is currently responsible for approximately 2% of the world’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions. To achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate change goals, rapid decarbonisation is vital – also for international shipping.”
They note the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed in 2018 to target an absolute cut in the sector’s total greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50% by 2050, regardless of trade growth, with full decarbonisation shortly after.
“The 2050 target will require a carbon efficiency improvement of up to 90%, which is incompatible with a continued long-term use of fossil fuels by commercial shipping,” the shipping groups said.
“Meeting the IMO’s GHG reduction goals will require the deployment of new zero-carbon technologies and propulsion systems, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, fuel cells, batteries and synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources. These do not yet exist in a form or scale that can be applied to large commercial ships, especially those engaged in transoceanic voyages and which are currently dependent on fossil fuels.”
The eight organizations have proposed establishing an International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), a non-governmental research and development organisation that would be overseen by the countries belonging to the IMO and financed with a mandatory contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel purchased for consumption by shipping companies worldwide. That would bring in about $5 billion over 10 years.
“Additional stakeholders’ participation is welcomed,” they added.
In a proposal to the IMO, the industry group set out details for governance and funding of the program, which they say can be put in place by 2023 via amendments to the existing IMO Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
They said the plan will be discussed by governments in London at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in March 2020.