Shipping sector proposes zero-emissions future

The global maritime transport industry has submitted a proposal to form the world’s first collaborative shipping R&D programme to help eliminate CO2 emissions from international shipping.

With International maritime transport carrying 90 per cent of global trade and creating 2 per cent of the world’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions, the shipping industry is proposing the establishment of an International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), a non-governmental R&D organisation that would be overseen by UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member States.

The proposed IMRB will be financed by shipping companies worldwide via a mandatory R&D contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel purchased for consumption by shipping companies worldwide, which will generate $5bn in core funding over a 10-year period. The aim is to accelerate the decarbonisation of the shipping sector and to speed deployment of commercially viable zero-carbon ships by the early 2030s.

In a proposal to the UN IMO, the industry has set out details for governance and funding of the coordinated R&D programme, which can be put in place by 2023 via amendments to the existing IMO Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

Guy Platten, secretary general International Chamber of Shipping said: “Greta Thunberg is right to say that ‘creative accounting and clever PR’ often lie behind supposed commitments to sustainability, but our plans are transparent, and our regulator has teeth. Now we ask the wider shipping community for their blessing. Change on this scale is difficult and often daunting. But in this case, it could not be more necessary. “

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