The Issue

Regulatory developments: Initial IMO Strategy and Port resolution

In April 2018, IMO adopted the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (Resolution MEPC.304(72)). The Initial IMO Strategy sets out a clear vision confirming IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, to phasing them out as soon as possible.

The Initial IMO Strategy identifies three levels of ambition:

  1. Carbon intensity of the ship to decline through implementation of further phases of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships to review with the aim to strengthen the energy efficiency design requirements for ships with the percentage improvement for each phase to be determined for each ship type, as appropriate;
  2. Carbon intensity of international shipping to decline to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008; and
  3. GHG emissions from international shipping to peak and decline to peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as called for in the Vision as a point on a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

What is shipping’s contribution to global CO2 emissions?

According to the Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020, CO2 emissions from shipping (both international and domestic) accounts for approximately 2.89% of global anthropogenic emissions.

Furthermore, in May 2019, IMO adopted Resolution MEPC.323(74), which invites Member States to promote the consideration and adoption by ports within their jurisdiction, of regulatory, technical, operational, and economic actions to facilitate the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. Those could include, but are not limited to, the provision of:

Onshore Power Supply (preferably from renewable sources)

Safe and efficient bunkering of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels

Incentives promoting sustainable low-carbon and zero-carbon shipping

Support for the optimization of port calls (e.g. improving quality and availability of data and facilitating Just In Time Arrivals of ships)

Depending on different socio-economic and energy scenarios, emissions are projected to increase from about 90% of 2008 emissions in 2018 to 90-130% of 2008 emissions by 2050.

The IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2050 Project was established with the overall goal to support effective implementation of the Initial Strategy and the IMO resolution on ports. Recognizing that developing countries, in particular LDCs and SIDS, have special needs with regard to capacity-building and technical cooperation, the project aims to work together with selected developing countries. Aligned with this, the project aims to strengthen MARPOL Annex VI compliance, the regulatory instrument which contains global mandatory technical and operational energy efficiency measures for ships, namely, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

Please consult the IMO Website for more information about the regulatory developments.