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Shipping must look beyond IMO 2020 to decarbonization: ICS

London — The shipping industry must look beyond the imminent changes to fuel standards in order to meet ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets set by the International Maritime Organization, the International Chamber of Shipping said Monday.

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The UN's IMO has set targets that includes a 50% cut in the shipping sector's GHG emissions by 2050 compared to 2008. The ICS says this can only be met by developing carbon-free technology for the industry.

The shipping industry faces seismic changes, greater than those signaled by the new international sulfur cap of 2020, ICS chairman, Esben Poulsson, said.

"The 2020 global sulfur cap will be the regulatory game changer of the decade with profound implications for the economics of shipping," Poulsson said. "But there are even more profound changes to come. We are rapidly moving into a multi-fuel future to be followed, we hope, in the 2030s, by the arrival of commercially viable zero CO2 fuels suitable for global application.

"We need the IMO to make progress with short-term GHG reduction measures as soon as possible to achieve measurable additional GHG reductions by 2023," he said.

Poulsson said the ICS board agreed that the industry cannot achieve the 2050 GHG reduction target using fossil fuels.

Platts London Oil & Energy Forum: Shipping Session, February 25 @ 3pm

Peter Norfolk, Editorial Director, Global Shipping & Freight, S&P Global Platts, invites you to our Shipping Breakout Session, as part of Platts London Oil & Energy Forum, February 25, 2019.

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"Over the next decade we are therefore going to require massive investment in research and development of zero CO2-emitting propulsion systems and other technologies which do not yet exist in a form that can be readily applied to international shipping, especially in deep sea trades," Poulsson said.

The global shipping industry is adapting to a ruling of the IMO, which decrees that from January 1, 2020, ships sailing in international waters must burn fuel with a sulfur content of no more than 0.5%, a considerable cut from the current level of 3.5%.

The ICS urged the IMO to take measures to address expected implementation problems, particularly in regard to outstanding safety and fuel compatibility issues associated with the new sulfur limit. The ICS said it is vital the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee completes this work at its meeting in May.

-- Tom Washington, thomas.washington@spglobal.com

-- Karishma Bhimani, Karishma.bhimani@spglobal.com

-- Edited by James Burgess, james.burgess@spglobal.com