International Shipping Lobby Pushes Hard for New Research Tax on Merchant Maritime Fuels

Maritime & Ports

Source: Handy Shipping guide, 2020-11-16

WORLDWIDE – In its efforts to combat climate change, the international freight and shipping community is calling for serious investments to be made to help decarbonise maritime shipping. To this end they want the current meeting of the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) to approve a new plan that they are setting forth.

Total emissions from shipping are about 7% lower than in 2008, but the industry says that for more to be achieved what is required is a $5 billion research and development programme that will explore technologies that can remove the maritime industry’s dependence on fossil fuels, moving over to operate with zero-carbon energy sources.

The fund would be overseen by the IMO and financed through a levy of $2 per tonne of marine fuel consumed. The R&D programme would be managed through a non-governmental research and development organisation - an International Maritime Research and Development Board or IMRB. John Butler, CEO of one of the sponsors, the World Shipping Council (WSC), commented:

“The only way we will decarbonise deep-sea shipping is through identifying and developing the fuels of the future. We have no time to waste, and the IMRB is a proposal that allows us to begin now.”

All quarters of the Industry are eager to work with governments to ensure that this initiative is implemented as soon as possible and lobbying the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 75th session starting today (16 November), to support it. Other sponsors include BIMCO, Intercargo, Interferry, Intertanko, the International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

The co-sponsors emphasise that for the proposal to work, the R&D contributions need to be compulsory via an IMO regulation, to ensure that all shipping companies globally contribute, in a fair and equitable manner, and that the necessary funds will be generated to achieve the programme’s objectives.

The intention is for the IMRB to work itself out of a job in 10-15 years by delivering research and development projects that will then allow commercial entities to provide the technologies and services that will move newly proven technologies into the global fleet by the 2030s.

In this way, the industry believes, the IMO can achieve and exceed its intended goal of cutting maritime shipping emissions by 50% by 2050. Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General of BIMCO, said that:

“Meeting the ambitions of the IMO Greenhouse Gas reduction strategy requires immediate actions, which the IMO member states made very clear a few weeks ago. Now, we look forward to seeing the member states put weight behind their calls for action and advance our proposal, which can actually help the industry develop the technology needed to reach our decarbonisation targets.”

It is not just maritime shipping that is exploring new means for reducing the logistics industry's environmental impact. The Smart Freight Centre has published a white paper, jointly with Deutsche Post DHL, entitled ‘Carbon Insets for the Logistics Sector’. The paper recommends allocating funds to decarbonisation projects in the industry and gives specific examples of successful techniques that could become sector standards. Suzanne Greene, Smart Freight Centre's Expert Advisor and author of the white paper, said:

“There is an opportunity to channel carbon offset funds related to transportation emissions to projects within the logistics sector, a process known as carbon insetting.”

With increasing need to address the issue of climate change it seems that the answers lie very much with the freight community ‘grasping the nettle', and actively working to clean up the industry.

 


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