Don't Count Out $2/MT Bunker Levy Proposal Yet: Shipping Industry Groups

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday June 18, 2021

While no concrete progress was made on shipping industry groups' decarbonisation research fund proposal at the IMO this week, its backers say there is growing momentum behind it.

The proposal -- to impose a $2/mt levy on bunker fuel purchases to build up a decarbonisation research and development fund -- was not selected for further development at the next IMO GHG working group session in October. Instead it will be up for discussion again at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in November.

"It is disappointing that yet again we must wait for the next meeting before we can get going," the industry bodies backing the proposal -- including the World Shipping Council, BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping -- said in an emailed statement on Friday.

"The USD 5 billion R&D programme is designed to accelerate the development and introduction of zero-emission technologies and fuels for maritime transport, which are vital for allowing the industry to decarbonise.

"It is encouraging to see support for the R&D programme from additional nations. Now more engagement is needed for concrete regulatory and technological progress."

Supporters claim the research fund will be needed to drive the technological progress necessary before large oceangoing zero-emission cargo ships can be put on the water. Meanwhile opponents have criticised the proposal as being a distraction from the work needed to develop carbon taxation for the shipping industry.