MEPC 74 has been meeting in London on 13-17 May to discuss key environmental issues concerning the shipping sector, and measures towards meeting the long-term goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.

Under its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), the IMO set mandatory targets for new ships on the maximum amount of CO2 emissions allowed for different vessel types and sizes to provide the same amount of transportation.

A draft of the agreement reveals new container ships will now be required to be up to 50% more efficient by 2022, compared with the previous target of up to 30% more efficient by 2025.

The agreement also includes general cargo ships, LPG and LNG carriers and hybrid diesel-electric cruise ships, that will also have to be up to 30% more efficient by 2022.

The decision received mixed feelings by key industry bodies and environmental groups.

Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, noted that the industry is on track to meet the 2030 target, if this solid IMO momentum continues. He commented:

We welcome the adoption of important new IMO regulations to strengthen and bring forward the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for several different types of new build vessel, including containerships. We are keen to see further progress on developing more short term measures to help the existing fleet reduce its emissions, and are optimistic that IMO Member States can agree some additional regulations, during 2020, combining prescriptive and goal based approaches that will deliver further GHG reductions before 2023.

Although short term measures are important, IMO needs to move quickly onto considering the critical long term measures for a 50% reduction of GHG emissions by 2050, he added.



The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) said the move could reduce CO2 emissions by about 750 million tonnes from 2022 to 2050, equating to around 2% of all emissions from international shipping over that period.

The IMO’s decision to move up and tighten energy efficiency targets for some new ships is a modest but necessary step to combat climate change,

...said Dan Rutherford, ICCT’s marine program director.

However, some environmental groups expressed dissatisfaction over IMO's "lack of ambition" during the MEPC 74, noting the target is already being beaten by some of the most efficient ships being built today and stricter goals should be set.

Seas at Risk stressed that there was no serious discussion on the merits of the various proposals for measures to deliver immediate emissions reductions before 2023, which have been submitted over the past 6 months.

Shipping is the only sector not subject to binding climate regulation and its remaining climate budget is fast being used up. Speed regulation is the most effective measure on the table, fortunately it will go forward for discussion at the next session. We have no time to lose, IMO procrastination must stop,

...Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping director at Transport & Environment, added.