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:
- Further tightening of existing Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) standards, resulting in an increasing number of energy-efficient new-build vessels joining the fleet.
- 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.
- 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?