ICS Praises China's Support for Global Shipping Regs, Criticizes EU & US Pursuit of Regional Systems

Wednesday December 6, 2017

Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has praised the Chinese Government for supporting the International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s efforts towards a global regulatory framework for merchant shipping, while using the opportunity to again criticize the European Union's (EU's) plans for pursuing a regional system.

In his keynote speech yesterday at Marintec 2017 in Shanghai, Poulsson said "China generally avoided the tendency – unfortunately displayed by some other IMO Member States – towards adopting unilateral shipping regulations at variance to rules agreed internationally.

"EU Member States, for example, despite what were understood to be undertakings to the contrary, appear to be pressing ahead with the implementation of a regional CO2 data collection system for ships (including visiting non-EU flag ships) which is very different to that agreed by IMO for global application."

As Ship & Bunker has previously reported, ICS has long encouraged the EU to align its regulations on shipping emissions with that of IMO, warning that the inclusion of Shipping in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) would be a "nightmare" and that a global framework for shipping was essential to avoid "chaos."

The United States also came under fire, with Poulsson saying the country shows no signs of ever ratifying the IMO Ballast Water Convention, and has adopted type-approval standards for the new treatment systems required that are different to those agreed by IMO. 

"This creates enormous practical and legal challenges for ship operators which trade to the United States," he said.

As for China, Poulsson said ICS has been "very encouraged" that the country, along with other important emerging economies, "has come forward with its own vision of what an IMO CO2 strategy might look like, and has actually gone to the effort of developing a possible draft text."

Continuing, Poulsson said: "we think that this text, proposed by China and others – if combined with the CO2 reduction objectives put forward by the shipping industry and other governments – could actually provide the makings of a truly ambitious agreement, which will provide a signal to the world that IMO is very serious about reducing shipping's CO2 emissions, and that it has a detailed plan for the development of further measures."

Last month, ICS Director of Policy, Simon Bennett, speaking at the United Nations (UN) COP 23 in Bonn, said the provisional decision by the EU not to include shipping within the full scope of the regional EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) demonstrated confidence in IMO to take appropriate action to deliver CO2 reduction measures within the shipping industry.