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International Chamber of Shipping reaffirms support for mandatory levy to achieve zero carbon goals by 2050


The Board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents over 80% of the world’s merchant fleet, has submitted a revised proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that reaffirms the industry’s commitment to meet 2050 net zero carbon goals and sets out the full details of how this can be achieved via a ‘Fund and Reward’ system.

The Fund and Reward mechanism will be financed by a mandatory contribution by ships per tonne of CO2 emitted to an IMO fund, which will reward first movers for the CO2 emissions prevented by the use of alternative fuels such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen, as well as sustainable biofuels and synthetic fuels plus new technologies including carbon capture

In the new submission, ICS has set out details of how a mandatory flat rate (levy-based) contribution by ships will be collected by an IMO Maritime Sustainability Fund. Importantly, to achieve consensus among governments, ICS explains how the contribution by ships per tonne of CO2 emitted can be set by IMO at a relatively low level and still be sufficient to narrow the price gap between alternative and conventional fuels.

The funds collected would be used to reward the uptake of alternative fuels by first movers, based on the CO2 emissions prevented, which will significantly reduce the price gap whilst minimising the additional cost of marine fuel to ensure that there will be no disproportionately negative impacts on trade, which is a legitimate concern among many developing economies.

In addition to funding the rewards programme for the uptake of low and zero-carbon fuels the contributions by shipping companies will generate billions of dollars annually to support the production of alternative marine fuels in developing countries. The fund will also be available to derisk the rollout of the new bunkering infrastructure that will be required on an accelerated timescale.

Simon Bennett, Deputy Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping commented: “The Fund and Reward mechanism put forward by ICS is intended to be as simple as possible for IMO to establish. With political will, it can be readily adopted via the existing IMO MARPOL Convention by 2024, so that our commitment to net zero by 2050 can remain plausible given the enormous challenge of transitioning the entire global industry to new fuels and technologies in less than 30 years.

“Our immediate goal is to ensure that some kind of levy-based global economic measure will be prioritised for rapid finalisation by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee at its next meeting in July. This critical meeting of governments is also expected to adopt a formal net zero target for shipping which will only be truly credible if a measure such as that proposed by the industry is taken forward immediately.”

The level of contributions to the IMO fund will be a decision for governments. However, ICS has suggested that total funds of about USD 10 billion per annum – which would require an initial contribution quantum of about US$50 per tonne of marine fuel oil consumed – could be sufficient to fund a rewards programme up until about 2030 whilst also providing tens of billion dollars to support maritime GHG reduction projects in developing countries. A previous economic impact assessment, prepared by ICS in collaboration with Clarksons’ Research, suggested that contributions of up to USD 150 or more per tonne of fuel consumed would be unlikely to have significant impacts on States.

Dreamstime Photo International Shipping