In an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA, Mrs. Anna Ziou, Policy Director – Safety and Environment at the UK Chamber of Shipping, comments on recent MEPC outcomes, highlighting that MBMs are necessary to provide economic incentives for the adoption of net-zero technologies and fuels.
Considering that shore power can support the industry’s journey towards decarbonization, Mrs Ziou identifies key barriers that prevent a widespread adoption and suggests that a national framework by the UK government would help accelerate action for shore power infrastructure and operation in the UK ports by 2030.
SAFETY4SEA: What are the top priorities in the UK Chamber of Shipping agenda regarding more sustainable shipping for the next five years?
Anna Ziou: Undoubtedly, in the next five years, we will see major changes in the industry’s regulatory environment, transforming it towards its journey to decarbonization. From the UK Chamber of Shipping perspective, decarbonization is a critical policy area in our sustainability agenda. We believe that the worldwide shipping industry should set its ambition as achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and that emissions reduction measured on an absolute basis to support that goal should start immediately.
We firmly support the efforts of the current IMO MEPC to strengthen the IMO GHG strategy and commit to the net-zero carbon target up to 2050. In that regard, the industry requires the IMO to put in place a Market-Based Measure (MBM) to provide the economic incentives to drive change. The Chamber highlights that the different MBM options have their advantages and disadvantages; we are willing to support any MBM that can be implemented quickly as we recognize that the need for an MBM is urgent, is not going to be open to abuse, is easy to administer and can provide a level playing field to all shipowners. MBMs should also provide meaningful economic incentives to adopt net-zero energy sources. Preferably, any funds generated should be returned to the industry to increase its effectiveness by supporting research and development, financing deployment and creating an effective infrastructure for net-zero energy sources while also ensuring a just and equitable transition in line with the IMO’s principles.
We also recognize the technical and potential other command and control measures implemented by IMO on a global basis are necessary to complement an MBM to drive GHG efficiency in the operation of the existing fleets. To this end, we acknowledge the benefits of a GHG fuel standard to support the uptake of renewable fuels. From 1st January 2023, the industry will also focus its efforts on implementing the IMO’s short-term measures. Over the last few years, we have been working in close collaboration with industry partners and the UK Government to influence their development and finalization at the IMO. But undoubtedly, we recognize considerable work is still due over the next few years to enable the CII framework to meet its objectives, incentivize the right actions, and maintain a level playing field. The revision of the CII framework planned to take place by 2026 would require close monitoring of the CII implementation and collection of relevant data to enable informed decision-making.
Finalising the IMO’s Lifecycle Analysis Guidelines for marine fuels is equally critical. These are necessary technical tools that could help inform investment decisions on the marine fuel pathways.
Lastly, I would like to highlight the work we have been doing over the last couple of years on combating single-use plastic in shipping. In 2020 we launched a ‘’Single-Use Plastic Charter’’, aiming to get companies pledging to go beyond the IMO and UK Government’s commitment to ban the use of non-essential single-use plastics, onshore and offshore. This initiative aims to help the industry be part of the circular economy and create a cultural change in seafarers’ and passengers’ attitudes toward single-use plastic.
Overall, we recognize environmental sustainability as a strategic issue for our members, with decarbonization as a critical component in minimizing our environmental impact. Over this decade, we will see an acceleration of the technological and regulatory developments which will significantly affect shipping’s sustainability, creating a more interconnected and efficient industry more closely integrated with the global supply chain. This transformation will require collaboration and close partnership with all involved stakeholders, including governments, to ensure environmentally sound and sustainable shipping.
S4S: What are your comments following the decisions made during the recent IMO MEPC 78? What topics should be further addressed from now onwards, possible at the next MEPC?
AZ: MEPC 78 decided to develop a “basket of candidate mid-term measures’’, integrating various technical and carbon pricing elements while progressing them in accordance with the IMO’s agreed work plan. Overall, we see the outcome of MEPC 78 as positive progress, which is aligned with the position of our own. Nevertheless, so far, the focus of the discussion has been on the development of the technical elements of the measures. Effectively, no comprehensive assessment of the measures has been carried out concerning the level of a carbon price, the distribution of the collected money, and their impacts on states. These discussions, which would require significant political commitment, are interlinked with the forthcoming negotiation of the revision of the IMO GHG Strategy.
Looking ahead, there are other critical decisions the IMO would have to make at a future session on the mid-term measures notably, whether it will support: (1) Low GHG Fuel Standards, a Carbon Intensity Indicator, or both; (2) ETS vs GHG Levy; (3) an MBM plus a Technical Measure, or a more integrated approach.
In terms of the revision of the IMO’s GHG Strategy, IMO discussions remain highly political. Concrete discussions are expected to start at the next MEPC 79 meeting, with the view to be finalized at MEPC 80 (Summer 2023). Nevertheless, there are positive signals the IMO would increase its ambition. The UK Chamber of Shipping is asking for this to align with Paris Agreements 1.5°C targets.
S4S: Following recent news that the Chamber advocates for green shore power, what are the key barriers the maritime industry faces for its widespread adoption?
AZ: At the UK Chamber of Shipping, we have been actively working on shore power for the last three years. We have also carried out a study which gives an understanding of our member’s views on shore power and how they view the role of technology in their decarbonization strategy. As part of that study, we identified the critical barriers that our members felt prevent the deployment of shore power as a key solution. Almost 80% of the respondents acknowledged the lack of port infrastructure as one of the barriers and as a reason for not planning to install a shore power technology on their vessels. The cost of retrofitting (45% of the respondents) was identified as the second barrier, and the regulatory requirement (41%) was the third.
S4S: What are your suggestions to turn these into opportunities?
AZ: Using shore power in ports can contribute to a substantial and quick cut in local air pollution and noise, alongside lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The technology has a major advantage of being available now as shore power has been a proven global technology for 20 years, but there has been slow uptake due to the unavailability of charging infrastructure. Shore power is also considered a long-term solution due to the dual role it can play in charging battery-powered short-sea shipping.
Over the last few years, there has been an intensified drive toward decarbonization. In the UK, there is a commitment to reach net-zero by 2050; the IMO is seeking to increase its GHG strategy targets, while the EU is adopting ambitious regulatory frameworks as part of the Fit for 55 policy that, among other things, will mandate shore power in EU ports.
So, we believe that electrification will play a key role in the industry’s decarbonization. It represents great opportunities for all industry segments to reduce at berth emissions and improve the air quality in port areas. We are urging the UK government to develop a national framework and accelerate action for the widespread adoption of shore power, infrastructure and operation in the UK ports by 2030. As the pace and extent of change will differ among sectors, the UK Chamber calls for the framework to initially target sectors with predictable port calls and the highest achievable impact on reducing emissions at berth. Sectors such as containerships, passenger vessels, tugs and offshore vessels.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
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