On 17 November, MEPC75 gave preliminary approval to the compromise agreement for the package of technical and operational measures to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships in the short run. ESPO sees the agreement as a first step, but stresses the need for higher ambitions.
ESPO believes that the 2018 IMO CO2 target is possibly not ambitious enough in light of the European Green Deal objective of no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050, and the higher EU targets for 2030. Europe’s ports therefore support the EU approach to closely monitor and evaluate whether sufficient progress is being made on the international level by 2023.
ESPO hopes that the IMO will deliver by 2023 and calls for renewed efforts to agree on more ambitious market-based measures at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC76)
ESPO also considers the IMO agreement as a starting point for more ambitious measures on the global level. But to ensure the robustness and effectiveness of the agreed mechanisms, the upcoming implementing work should be made as strict as possible in terms of enforcement. Together with the International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH), ESPO regrets that the agreed package settles for lower ambitions as concerns the scope, enforcement, and reduction factors of the measures.
In addition, ESPO reiterates its support for the Initial IMO GHG Strategy. However, to deliver on its goals, coming discussions on mid- and long-term measures must provide for higher ambitions through robust and enforceable policies.
Since there is no time to waste, proposals for an international market-based measure should be developed. Other measures that do not constitute a market-based measure such as the existing proposal for an International Maritime Research and Development Board can be considered in parallel
Moreover, a global approach is preferable, given the international nature of the shipping sector. All efforts should go towards finding such an approach in order to minimise potential market distortions to the highly international maritime sector. However, if a sufficiently ambitious approach fails to materialise on the international level by 2023, ESPO favours a regional measure that ensures real and significant emission reductions and delivers on the European Green Deal, whilst accounting for potential market distortions on the regional level.
What is more, the greening of shipping is the priority for European ports. To this end, links need to be made with the ship-shore interface and the bunkering of low and zero carbon fuels in particular, and funding allocated to research supporting innovation in bunkering of those fuels. At the same time, ports themselves remain committed to greening their own fleets and operations within their own remit.
Finally, delivering on the European Green Deal will require significant public and private investments at European level. European legislation must therefore provide the appropriate financial incentives to enable the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and help the ports in their role as facilitator.