IMO is advancing discussions on legally-binding ‘mid-term’ measures to help the maritime industry achieve net zero shipping, as set out in the 2023 IMO Strategy on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. The measures are scheduled for adoption in late 2025.

The topic is part of a packed agenda for IMO’s Maritime Environment Protection Committee, which meets in London for its 81st session from 18-24 March.

The mid-term measures include the establishment of a global fuel standard for marine fuels and a global pricing mechanism for greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The aim is to ensure a just and equitable transition to net zero shipping by or around, i.e. close to 2050, taking into account different national circumstances. 

Opening the meeting, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Arsenio Dominguez said: “Decarbonizing the maritime industry is a big challenge, but also an opportunity to align the international shipping sector with global commitments on climate change and sustainability.” 

Discussions by the Committee have so far indicated broad support for developing the mid-term measures, although the details of what exact approach to take are still under deliberation. Several proposals are on the table. 

Member States have expressed a clear commitment and willingness to continue working together towards a common understanding of the issues and possible convergences among the different proposals. This reflects preliminary discussions during the Intersessional Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships from 11-15 March. 

A Working Group on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships has been established and is expected to report back on its work on Friday 22 March.  

To support decision-making, a comprehensive impact assessment is being carried out to analyse the potential economic impact of the various proposed measures on Member States, including Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. The finalized assessment is due to be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee (MEPC 82) from 30 September to 4 October 2024. 

Read More: IMO MEPC 81: Agenda Requirements

Life-cycle GHG intensity 

Furthering the work on GHG emissions, the MEPC adopted revised Guidelines on life cycle assessment of GHG intensity of marine fuels (LCA Guidelines) on Monday, 18 March.  

The LCA guidelines enable the calculation of GHG emissions over the full production cycle and end-use of marine fuels, known as “well-to-wake” approach. The updated guidelines include revised calculations for default emission factors; an updated appendix 4 on template for well-to-tank default emission factor submission; and a new appendix 5 template for tank-to-wake emission factors. 

Other major areas MEPC 81 is covering this week include energy efficiency of ships; tackling marine litter; transport of plastic pellets by sea; ballast water management; approval of regional Emission Control Areas; ship recycling and underwater noise reduction. 

Source: International Maritime Organization (IMO)


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Issue 90 of Robban Assafina

(Mar./April 2024)


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