The global trade association for port authorities is pushing for a faster path to phase out carbon dioxide emissions from maritime freight vessels, according to a statement from the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).
The statement follows a meeting in London this week of groups from the international maritime community, who discussed revising the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Strategy.
When drafted in 2018, that strategy had called for cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least half by 2050, compared with their level in 2008, and working towards phasing out GHG emissions from shipping entirely as soon as possible in this century.
The original strategy was due for a planned revision by 2023, and IAPH says that update should set a more ambitious goal to reach a zero-emission target by 2050. “As climate science clearly demonstrates, for the world to stay on a 1.5°C pathway, international shipping needs to decarbonize by 2050 at the latest. Hence, IAPH supports all proposals calling for phasing out CO2 emissions from shipping by 2050, and the setting of respective intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040 to define a predictable pathway,” IAPH’s technical director, Antonis Michail, said in a release.
IAPH also supported the early adoption of mid-term measures consisting of a technical regulatory instrument such as the GHG Global Fuel Standard and a market-based measure (MBM). “IAPH considers the early implementation of a global MBM to be essential in bridging the price gap between conventional and low- and zero-carbon fuels and hence stimulating the very substantial investments needed in the supply and value chains of such fuels and making them commercially viable,” Michail said.
According to IAPH, a global MBM could generate revenues for investments in port and land infrastructure for low- and zero-carbon fuels, in developing countries in particular. That approach could both drive decarbonization and also contribute to an equitable energy transition of shipping.
Some maritime sector companies have already begun transitions to cleaner-burning fuels in containerships, in line with the “IMO 2020” regulations designed to curb air pollution by banning ships from using fuel with high sulfur content. However, clean fuels and engines are still made in quantities too small to support an industry-wide transition, so some groups are also calling for a plan for the IMO to raise funds from global shipping companies to back research and development in the area.
Both IAPH's technical director Antonis Michail & IMO Liaison Officer Rhona Macdonald along with representatives from ESPO & @PortofAntBruges joined the IMO Intersessional working group on GHG emission reduction #CloseTheGaps on #CleanMarineFuels https://t.co/UV4Ppw3Sg9— International Association of Ports & Harbors (@WPSP_IAPH) December 9, 2022