Container lines are the largest consumers of bunker fuel. File Image / Pixabay
Container shipping industry body the World Shipping Council has set out the policies it supports at the IMO level to drive decarbonisation.
In an emailed statement on Tuesday the industry body set out its decarbonisation strategy ahead of this year's meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in June.
The statement lists the following regulatory and economic pathways for the IMO to consider:
A global price on carbon combined with dependable and broad-based 'buy down' programmes that effectively level the playing field among newer low and zero GHG ships and the tens of thousands of ships that will still be burning conventional fuels. This will play a large role in making it possible for companies to put zero GHG ships on the water and to operate them competitively
Transparent well-to-wake life cycle analysis of fuels, breaking out well-to-tank emissions and tank-to-wake emissions, combined with regulatory mechanisms to incentivize first-movers for use of alternative fuels that offer significant GHG reductions even if they are not available from fully renewable sources from the start
Integrated development of global production and supply of zero GHG fuels through partnerships between IMO member states and energy providers, as well as regulatory provisions that allow for flexibility in the initial stages of the energy transition, given that zero GHG fuels will not be available at the same time around the globe
A Green Corridors Programme to accelerate an equitable fuel and technology transition, introducing zero GHG ships and fuels across trade lanes where the necessary shoreside energy infrastructure is first available. This will speed development of best practices and encourage IMO member states and interested parties to focus on government-to-government initiatives and coordinated public-private investments to build the necessary production facilities and supply infrastructure
New build standards that support the energy transition, such as requiring ships built after a certain date to be able to operate on zero GHG fuels or not allowing the construction of vessels that can only operate on fossil fuels after a certain date
Applied R&D for shipboard and shoreside systems that allow the safe use of zero-GHG fuels is necessary to put zero emission ships on the water. To avoid accidents and stranded assets, a significant increase in the level of R&D effort and investment is needed to develop the technologies necessary to use the most promising fuels onboard transoceanic ships
The WSC has set out further detail of each of the pathways in a submission to the IMO MEPC meeting.
"We are looking to decarbonise shipping as soon as possible and will continue to lead the way in enabling shipping's transition to zero," John Butler, CEO of the WSC, said in the statement.
"But we cannot do this alone.
"If we are to decarbonise shipping in line with the Paris agreement, the governments of the IMO must work together.
"For the sake of future generations and the future of shipping, our focus in the coming years must be to develop and implement innovative, concrete and equitable global regulatory frameworks.
"These are complicated matters and we do not pretend to have all the answers.
"What we do know is that we must develop these critical pathways together to address the climate challenge and transition the fleet to zero-GHG ships."