Clean ships

IMO climate agreement


“Dutch shipowners have embraced the international climate agreement for the shipping sector. Now it’s important to pay close attention to how we are going to achieve the objectives.”

Priority KVNR: the shipping sector must act on the IMO climate agreement

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Nick Lurkin
Climate and Environment

+31 10 2176 275

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Press inquiries


Nathan Habers
Public Relations

+31 10 2176 264


On 13 April 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed on a climate agreement for the maritime sector. Along the same lines as the earlier 2015 Paris Agreement, the IMO proposal has the following objectives:

  1. Further tightening of existing Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) standards, resulting in an increasing number of energy-efficient new-build vessels joining the fleet.
  2. Reduction of the transport performance per ship (measured in CO2 emissions per tonne-kilometre) of an average of 40% by 2030 (compared to 2008 levels). The aim for 2050 is a 70% reduction.
  3. An absolute reduction of greenhouse gases of at least 50% in 2050 (compared to 2008). This should be followed by a total phasing out of greenhouse gases (including CO2) as soon as possible in the second half of this century.

It is important to note that, in order to achieve these ambitious – yet realistic – objectives, shipowners are partly dependent on other links in the logistics chain. For example, although shipowners are the ones who make a vessel available, it is often the client (a charterer or shipper) who determines just how efficiently a ship will operate.

In addition, innovations regarding alternative fuels and propulsion techniques will have to be developed further in order to reduce and eventually phase out emissions of CO2 and other pollutants.

However, because these technologies are not available for every ship type and size, the levels of required investment will be substantial, leading to increased transport costs for shipowners. This raises the following question is: how do we achieve these objectives?

The challenge

In order to be able to meet the agreed reduction targets, it is important that all stakeholders take responsibility for – and contribute towards – the continued phase-out of CO2 emissions in the maritime sector.

Another key factor in the forthcoming period will be that the IMO takes consistent decisions concerning any technical, operational and/or economic issues that may arise. All factors must be carefully considered in order to prevent any disruption in the market. Transporting cargo by other (more CO2-intensive) transport modalities, as well as with non-Dutch flagged vessels, must also be prevented.

When approached logically, global measures should also be feasible; assuming that safety standards are not at risk, and that a proper balance between reducing CO2 emissions and associated costs is maintained.

State of play - 18 April 2019

The KVNR is currently holding preliminary discussions with various parties (government institutions, technical suppliers, banks, ports and shippers) to see how the shipping industry can reduce CO2 emissions further.

At this initial stage, it is important to determine what the various parties can do for each other to achieve the overall objectives.