MEPC81: IMO SG Argues Impact-Tested Measures Need Member State Backing To Be Effective

by Julian Macqueen, Senior Editor, Ship & Bunker
Tuesday March 19, 2024

Avoiding fragmentation and getting member states behind the measures designed to push forward the International Maritime Organization's greenhouse gas strategy is a key aim for this week's MEPC81 deliberations.

Having agreed that strategy at MEPC80 in July, the work of MEPC81 is to add shape and form to the technical and economic measures being developed in various groups and committees. 

Speaking to the media at the end of the first day, IMO Secretary General Arsenio Dominguez was upbeat on progress.

"We have a clear mandate for where we are going for this week, so we are right on track," the head of shipping's ruling body said.

At MEPC81, the technical measure is a fuel standard that has different mechanisms.

For economic measures, there are several ideas on the table.

While a final decision on the exact form of the measures either as standalones or in combination is not expected by the end of the week, the direction of travel should be clear.

"We could have a fuel standard that will drive the transition to alternative fuels and a separate economic measure that will provide financial support [for the development of alternative fuels]," Dominguez explained.

"Or we may end up with an economic measure that takes into account the technical measures."

This is where the impact assessments will play a key role, he added.

The steering committee has 20 combinations of the measures to look at. Any negative impact [from those combinations] would also have to be discussed.

But those discussions are moving towards having a measure in place that supports the transition and has the membership onboard "to make it effective".

"Otherwise, we will end up with a fragmented approach which will not be able to meet the goals of the strategy," Dominguez emphasised.

Reports on progress are expected to heard by MEPC81 by the end of the week. The next environment committee, MEPC82, will convene in October.