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IMO, S. Korea partner to help less-developed nations meet shipping climate goals


Partners recognize barriers to poorer nations meeting targets

Geopolitics may cause regional approaches

New York — The International Maritime Organization and South Korea have signed an agreement to establish a training program to support developing countries cut greenhouse gas emission in shipping.

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"The [four-year] Sustainable Maritime Transport Training Programme (GHG-SMART) will focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It will help them to develop their capacity to achieve the goals set out in the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships," the IMO said in a press release Oct. 28.

The IMO is targeting a 40% reduction in GHG emissions from shipping by 2030 and a 50% reduction in 2050 compared with 2008 levels, which means the industry must switch to new technologies and fuels.

"The strategy recognizes that there are potential barriers to achieving the targets and highlights the need for supportive measures, including capacity building, technical cooperation, technology transfer and research and development (R&D), particularly in developing countries," the IMO said.

Following the transition of the industry to the IMO-mandated 0.5% sulfur cap on shipping emissions on the high seas, which came into effect on Jan. 1, the sector is now looking ahead to what fuels it should be using and what other means there are to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Ships have a typical lifespan of 20-25 years so vessels currently under construction or on order have to be built with the forthcoming emissions restrictions in mind.

The need for cleaner fuels will develop within a world with different trade rules, with intense economic and technological competition between the US and China leading to the deglobalization of trade toward a more regional trade, or North-South trade in the case of the Americas Mark Williams, managing director of Shipping Strategy said at the Maritime Week Americas 2020 conference organized by Petrospot.

This change would also affect shipping routes and the types of ships and fuels that would be needed, as the distance to travel could be shortened, he said. Dual-fueled vessels powered by batteries could be an option for those shorter trips.