Emissions targets - revolution not evolution

Sep 14 2018

At a high level press conference to open last week’s SMM, the forthcoming low sulfur legislation was discussed at length.

Kicking off, Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary General stressed the importance of the sulfur cap. 


“The entry into force of the sulfur limit on 1st January, 2020 is a landmark decision for both the environment and for human health. It demonstrates a clear commitment by IMO to ensuring shipping meets its environmental obligations. The major focus for IMO and the industry now is to ensure consistent, global implementation of the new limit,” Lim said.


By 2050, the IMO wants to cut CO2 emissions by 50%, and by the end of the century ships are to operate entirely without emissions to contribute their fair share to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.


Lim commented: “To have this overall international framework within which the technical discussions can now take place is a truly historic breakthrough. The next step is to agree the precise measures that will enable these ambitions to be achieved. Communication and collaboration among member states and all stakeholders is essential.”


The panel, which include Lim, ICS chairman Esben Poulsson, Frank Starke, global product manager medium speed engines, Caterpillar and Bernd Aufderheide, president and CEO, Hamburg Messe und Congress, agreed that shipowners must invest enormous amounts of capital to meet the stricter emission limits, from scrubbers and other filter technologies to alternative propulsion technologies, which will be needed in the medium term.


At the same time, more than 50,000 oceangoing ships around the world are required to install ballast water management systems.


Poulsson said; "ICS fully supports the implementation of the sulfur limit and accepts that postponement is not an option."


What is crucial now is careful planning, he said. "It is important to consider that shipowners must begin purchasing compliant fuels as early as the middle of next year."


A recent survey by the Swiss investment bank UBS among shipmanagers revealed that from 2019 until 2023, more than $250 bill of equipment investments and operating costs will have to be shouldered by owners to comply with green shipping requirements.


The IMO's climate protection strategy will require an even greater effort: “The goal for 2050 can only be achieved with radically new propulsion systems, such as hydrogen and batteries," said Poulsson.


He also revealed that the ICS was preparing technical papers that would be made public soon to help clarify uncertainties. Her said there was still uncertainty about fuel supply and blending, especially for vessels tramping on voyage charters. “We must deal with it,” he said.


Starke said; "The ambitious 2050 greenhouse gas target can only be achieved by combining several technologies, including innovative engine technology, various fuels, new fuel production methods – such as Power to X – and exhaust gas after treatment.”


Special applications will require special solutions, such as battery operation in short-sea shipping, he added. It is of paramount importance that all stakeholders act together.


Starke stressed: "The required massive investments of creative intelligence and capital can only be justified if there is a predictable, globally harmonised emission regulation regime. Adherence to these regulations must be monitored effectively and enforced strictly to create a level playing field around the world.”


Lim said there would be a substantial action plan launched next month at MEPC and that the progression towards the emissions targets should be undertaken step-by-step in discussion with NGOs and the shipping industry.


Starke said that going forward the emissions targets would be a revolution, not an evolution.



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June 2020

low carbon strategy - digital tanker market models - battery explosions - better catering onboard - challenges of ballast installations