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World Shipping Council seeks overhaul of IMO ‘green’ directives

The World Shipping Council, whose members operate 90% of global container carrying capacity, has urged the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to revisit its greenhouse gas emission regulations. The WSC wants the directives to be overhauled so that all carriers are working off the same rulebook while making costly changes needed to cut emissions significantly.

Achieving the green transition is “both technically and politically very difficult,” said World Shipping Council President John Butler. “It’s a bit of a fool’s errand, frankly, to say ‘this is going to happen by this date’ or ‘this is going to happen by that date.’ What we need to do is keep moving forward.”

The WSC’s members include A.P. Moller-Maersk, Cosco Shipping Holdings, and MSC Mediterranean Shipping. They advocate “global, enforcible multilateral regulation to avoid the race to the bottom,” said Jan Hoffmann, head of trade logistics at the UN Conference on Trade and Development. “They don’t really mind that level of regulation as long as it’s the same for everybody.”

The Global Maritime Forum has estimated that fully decarbonizing the shipping sector by 2050 will require as much as $95 billion of investment per year starting in the next decade.

 The UN agency’s marine environmental protection committee will meet in June to discuss the advancement of its greenhouse-gas emission strategy.

The current framework establishes a 50% cut in emissions by 2050. This falls well short of what’s required to align the sector with the Paris Agreement’s ambitions on limiting temperature increases. To address that, the committee has recommended all 175 member states to fully decarbonize by 2050.  But a majority including Saudi Arabia and China voted against it. (Photo International Maritime Organization)