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No more excuse for the IMO

LONDON: December 14, 2015. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says it wants "meaningful discussions" with the UN International Maritime Organization about reducing CO2 emissions 50 percent before 2050 from a 2007 base line.

ICS is also pushing the IMO to finalize a mandatory global CO2 data collection system for ships, arguing that "dramatic" CO2 reduction will only be guaranteed if further regulation continues to be led by the UN agency.

The move coincides with further consolidation of the container shipping industry with the announcement by China's Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of a merger between COSCO and China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL). China COSCO, COSCO Pacific, CSCL and China Shipping Development (CSD) say they will restructure key assets to create one of the world's four largest container lines with a fleet of 288 ships, of which 84 are larger than 8,000 TEUs, and a total capacity of approximately 1.6 million TEUs. 

COSCO ShenzhenICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe said the message from government leaders meeting in Paris last week was clear: "I am sure IMO Member States will now proceed with new momentum to help the industry deliver ever greater CO2 reductions, as the world moves towards total de-carbonization by the end of the century."

Despite encouraging signs from China and India to curb their emissions alongside developed economies, the ICS notes the climate mitigation agreement reached in Paris still retains the principle of 'differentiation' whereby different countries can offer different levels of commitment to reduce CO2.

"CO2 is a global problem and shipping is a global industry," said Hinchliffe. "IMO is the only forum which can take account of the UN principle of 'differentiation' while requiring all ships to apply the same CO2 reduction measures, regardless of their flag State.

"Unilateral or regional regulation would be disastrous for shipping and disastrous for global CO2 reduction, whereas IMO is already helping shipping to deliver substantial CO2 reductions on a global basis," he added.

ICS had hoped for an acknowledgment in Paris of the importance of the IMO continuing to develop further CO2 reduction measures that could be implemented and enforced in a uniform and global manner.

"Time finally ran out to agree a compromise on international transport acceptable to all nations, but nothing is really lost. No text is probably preferable to some of the well intentioned words being proposed at the very end of the conference which few people understood and which could have actually greatly complicated further progress at IMO," explained Hinchliffe.

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