On IMO World Maritime Day

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has called for all future proposals for environmental regulation that impact on ships to be subjected to a full and proper cost benefit analysis before adoption by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

ICS is using the occasion of IMO World Maritime Day to explain its views on sustainable shipping, and has produced a special brochure for maritime policy makers

ICS has set out how the shipping industry supports the goals for sustainable development agreed by world leaders at last year's United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development.ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe explained: "International shipping directly facilitates the growth of world trade, economic development, and the improvement of global living standards - including amongst the billion or more people that do not yet have access to electricity."

In June 2012, world leaders attending the United Nations 'Rio + 20' Summit onSustainable Development agreed that 'poverty eradication is the greatest globalchallenge and indispensible to sustainable development'.

As a follow up to the goals agreed by the UNSummit, IMO is now committed to producingsustainable development goals for theinternational shipping industry, an objectivewhich ICS fully supports.

The international shipping industry directly facilitatesthe growth of world trade, economic developmentand the improvement of global living standards.About 90% of world trade is carried by sea. Thevolume of maritime trade is therefore expected toincrease significantly as the world economy andpopulation continue to expand.

Without cost efficient maritime transport, themovement of raw materials and energy in bulk towherever they are needed, and the transport ofmanufactured goods and products between thecontinents - which is a prerequisite for growth anddevelopment - would simply not be possible.In June 2012, in support of IMO, ICS representedthe world's shipowners at the UN Summit inRio de Janeiro.

ICS made the case that the shipping industry isundoubtedly a driver of 'green growth' given itsimpressive environmental performance.ICS also explained that sustainable developmentis dependent on the continuing cost efficiency ofmaritime transport, which should not be taken forgranted. In particular, ICS believes that potentiallyexpensive new regulations should not be imposedon international shipping without a full and propercost benefit analysis.

The three Pillars of Sustainability

Sustainable development as understood by the UN is madeup of three components or 'pillars': environmental,social and economic which are all inextricably linked.

Maintenance of the shipping industry's economicsustainability is also important given its vital role intransporting around 90% of world trade, upon whichthe functioning of the world economy, and its furtherdevelopment, depends.Between now and 2025, the shipping industry expects toinvest hundreds of billions of dollars in delivering furtherenvironmental improvements. This is to comply with a rangeof new environmental standards recently adopted by IMO.These new IMO standards are supported by ICS on theunderstanding that they will be properly enforced on a globalbasis in order to maintain fair competition and the levelplaying field which shipping requires to operate efficiently.

The shipping industry, as represented by ICS, is committedto the continuous improvement of its environmentalperformance within the successful framework provided by theIMO MARPOL Convention and other IMO instruments. Forexample, although operations at sea involve a high degree ofphysical risk, the number of major oil spills caused by shippingreduced dramatically during the last decade. This was due toa combination of improved industry best practices and thesuccessful global enforcement of IMO rules.

Comparison of CO2 emissions between transport modes

Comparison of CO2 emissions between Click on image to enlarge

(Image Credit: ICS)

Reducing CO2 Emissions

In response to concerns about climate change, shipping isthe only major industrial sector which already has a bindingglobal agreement in place to reduce its CO2emissions (theamendments to MARPOL Annex VI which entered into forceworldwide in January 2013).This includes the application of the Energy Efficiency DesignIndex (EEDI) to new ships and the use of Ship Energy EfficiencyManagement Plans (SEEMP) by existing ships. With the impetusprovided by this package of IMO technical and operationalmeasures, ICS is confident that the industry can reduce its CO2emissions per tonne of cargo moved one kilometre by 20% by2020, with further emission reduction going forward.

In principle, ICS also supports the development of a globalsystem of Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) ofships' emissions, provided such a mechanism is simple toadminister and developed for global application at IMO.

IMO agreement on technical regulations will reduce ships CO2

IMO agreement on technical regulations will reduce ships' CO2 -Click on image to enlarge

(Image Credit: ICS)

Switch to Low Sulphur Fuel

To reduce the localised impact of sulphur emissions on theenvironment and human health, the shipping industry is inthe process of switching from 'heavy' residual fuel oil to lowsulphur fuel to comply with MARPOL Annex VI.

Although alternative means of compliance, such as ExhaustGas Cleaning Systems or the use of LNG, may eventually bepossible for some ships, the vast majority will have to usedistillate, currently costing around 50% more than residualfuel but with a price differential expected to increase as its usein effect becomes mandatory.

This next stage of this process will be the enforcement ofthe 0.1% sulphur cap in Emission Control Areas required byMARPOL in 2015, to be followed by a global sulphur capelsewhere of 0.5% in either 2020 or 2025.2While the IMO agreement on sulphur is fully supported by ICS,the cost of this change to the industry after 2020 is estimatedto be over US $50 billion dollars a year. Even if ships improve their fuel efficiency dramatically, this significant cost will needto be absorbed by shipping's customers, including those indeveloping countries. There is an attendant risk of modalshift, especially from short sea trades to less environmentallyfriendly shore transport.

Ship Recycling

The shipping industry supports a 'cradleto grave approach' to sustainability.This includes support for the early entryinto force of the IMO Convention forthe Safe and Environmentally SoundRecycling of Ships which will helpimprove safety and environmentalstandards in ship recycling yards andimpose mandatory requirements onships, such as the maintenance of inventories of hazardousmaterials, from the time of their construction to their finaldemolition. In the meantime, ICS continues to promotethe Inter-industry Guidelines on Transitional Measures forShipowners Selling Ships for Recycling.

Ballast Water Treatment

The shipping industry is preparing for the entry into force ofthe IMO Ballast Water Management Convention in order toaddress the potential damage to local marine ecosystems thatcan be caused by the unwanted transfer of invasive species.Up until around 2020, the shipping industry expects toinvest over US $100 billion in order to fit the new treatmentequipment that will be required. This is at a time whenobtaining additional finance, especially for retrofitting, is achallenge for many shipowners.

Other environmental developments

The shipping industry is also committed to the implementationof numerous other IMO environmental requirements on suchmatters as: anti-fouling paints, cargoes, CFCs, garbage, NOXemissions, sewage and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)to list but a few. Many other environmental requirements arecurrently under development at IMO.

Additional information can be found at ICS brochure for IMO World Maritime Day 2013: Sustainable Development

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