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IMO 2020

UCL Energy Institute explains IMO MPEC 72

The academic facility provides a simplified break down of the climate agreement between nations.




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The following is an article by the UCL Energy Institute to explain the climate agreement between nations at the International Maritime Organization MPEC 72 meeting:

How ambitious is this agreement?
The IMO deal reached in London represents a significant shift in climate ambition for a sector that accounts for 2-3% of global carbon dioxide emissions. It sets an emission reduction pathway of “at least” 50% on 2008 levels by 2050 with a strong emphasis on increasing the cut towards 100% by 2050 if this can be shown to be possible. This is approaching the ambition of the UN’s 2015 Paris Agreement.

While we can say this deal puts shipping on course for a 2C pathway, it’s important to remember Paris targets “well below” 2C and aims for 1.5C, so this is no time for complacency. Full decarbonisation by mid-century remains the minimum course for 1.5C, an object which if missed, creates existential threats for some countries and environmental and socio-economic threats for all.

Critically the deal signals to the industry – and particularly investors – that a clear switch away from fossil fuels is now on the cards. From the 2030s, it is highly unlikely that new ocean-going vessels will be dependent on fossil fuels. Rather we will be looking at zero carbon renewable fuels to power the world’s fleet. If you are building a ship or planning to build a ship in the 2020s it will likely need to be able to switch to non-fossil fuels later in its life, a factor insurers and shipping financiers will need to consider in their business plans through the next decade.

Is a 1.5C pathway for shipping still on the table?
The Strategy does not alone secure 1.5C or clearly show that efforts have been pursued to achieve this. The Strategy increases the possibility of being able to keep global average temperature increases within this limit. Immediate measures to implement the Strategy will be required to urgently peak and reduce GHG emissions in line with 1.5C. The Strategy will be reviewed in light of the UN’s IPCC 1.5C report in September, which will likely be helpful for strengthening it. Critical to the viability of 1.5, is whether the Strategy is converted into significant GHG reductions before 2023, and this is dependent of the outcome of future IMO meetings and their ability to agree and then rapidly deploy policy measures.

What does the at least 50% figure mean?
It refers to at least 50% GHG cuts by 2050 on 2008 levels, which is the agreed baseline year for shipping GHG. Under the below 2C Paris temperature goal, 50% cuts mean shipping’s share of net CO2 emissions is likely to grow from its current 2-3% to around 10% by mid-century. This could still help achieve the below 2C temperature goal if other sectors and countries are able to reduce emissions faster. Further strengthening of the Strategy using evidence arising over the next 5 years could see the sector’s commitment increase to 100% reduction by 2050.

Which country’s proposed target ‘won’ at MEPC72?
As you’d expect in a multilateral negotiation, the decision reached is a compromise. The outcome is not as ambitious as the 70-100% targeted by Pacific Islands and European countries, but is more ambitious than the 50% by 2060 initially proposed by Japan and other parties. The final decision received almost unanimous support from the IMO’s member states and from industry.

How will the sector deliver the at least 50% goal?
Now that the Initial Strategy is adopted, IMO is expected to start developing GHG reducing legally binding measures, which could include measures to increase ships’ technical and operational energy efficiency, a low and zero-carbon fuels implementation programme, national action plans and market-based measures. These measures would be in addition to the existing IMO measures on energy efficiency.

A new IMO data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships has come into force on 1 March 2018, which will mean the fuel consumption of all major vessels is reported and totalled. The IMO’s regulations are likely to be supported by voluntary action in the sector and by governments on their domestic shipping, which can help drive technology and infrastructure developments required for the Strategy’s objectives.

When does this deal kick in?
The IMO has agreed to achieve GHG reduction before 2023. This will require rapid development of policy measures, and deployment as soon as possible. The IMO’s 4th greenhouse gas study is due to be completed in 2020 and may be used to define what immediate policy action is required.

Is everyone on-board?
An overwhelming majority of countries at the IMO fully support this deal. Saudi Arabia, USA, Brazil were the only ones to raise specific objections as the talks closed, but the decision was adopted by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, which means it is now an official decision.

Will we see carbon pricing in the near future?
The Strategy mentions market-based mechanisms as one of the policy options that will be discussed in the coming years. These have promise for both making a business case for the switch to more expensive fuel/technology, and raise funds for R&D, deployment and infrastructure development, and potentially addressing economic impacts if these arise in certain states. Other policy measures that could achieve similar outcomes will also be explored, so a carbon price is not certain.

What will the ships of 2040 look like?
They will look very different to today’s ships. It’s hard to predict exactly what the next 20 years will bring, but we could see a diverse shipping fleet powered by hydrogen, ammonia, batteries, sustainable biofuels and sail. There are a range of innovative technologies being rolled out by market leaders already and we can expect the curve of technological development to only increase with this decision.

What does it mean for the sector?
The deal moves the debate on action on GHG from just talking about energy efficiency. The shipping industry will now have to confront the very real and imminent prospect of following other transport sectors in decarbonising and investing in new technologies that radically cut emissions. It’s clear there is a massive investment opportunity for the sector to bring itself up to speed with this set of Objectives. This opportunity could be both for technology and fuels, as well as for companies in the maritime industry that can show that they are prepared for and managing this period of change.

Will this hurt world trade?
It’s unlikely we are going to see an immediate shift in transport costs. On average globally, prices are unlikely to increase to as high as they did when the price of oil soared in the 2000s. There is also the potential that the move to new energy sources and higher standards of environmental governance could reduce volatility in shipping and transport costs. However, there needs to be further work to confirm this assessment, especially on specific countries with strong links between maritime transport cost and their economies.

But if shipping can manage its decarbonisation in an equitable and coordinated manner, then trade there is a good opportunity for trade growth to continue and to assist globally with economic development and the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals.

Developing countries – is this a deal that will hurt them?
If there are increased costs in transport, these are most likely to be significant in the poorest and most remote SIDS and LDCs, due to their often remote and poorly serviced trade routes, high dependency on imports, already disproportionally high per capita transport costs, and low ability to absorb increased prices without significant social welfare impacts. Discussions for how these economic impacts could be assessed and, if necessary, addressed will be a critical part of discussions through to 2023.

Related: IMO: Nations adopt 50% GHG reduction strategy at MEPC72

Photo credit & source: UCL Energy Institute
Published: 7 May, 2018


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Port & Regulatory

X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Firm signed a MoU with Ports of Antwerp Bruges, Tallinn, Helsinki, HaminaKotka, Freeport of Riga and Klaipeda Port to develop infrastructure for provision and bunkering of alternative bunker fuels, among others.





X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Singapore-based global maritime container shipping company X-Press Feeders on Friday (5 April) signed of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with six European ports: Port of Antwerp Bruges (Belgium), Port of Tallinn (Estonia), Port of Helsinki (Finland), Port of HaminaKotka (Finland), Freeport of Riga (Latvia) and Klaipeda Port (Lithuania).

This landmark agreement signifies a joint commitment to accelerate the establishment of green shipping corridors and the broader decarbonisation of the marine sector in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. Through this MOU, X-Press Feeders and the participating ports will pool resources and expertise to develop and implement sustainable practices for maritime operations.

Under the MOU:

  • Parties will work together to further develop infrastructure for the provision and bunkering of alternative fuels such as green methanol,
  • Encourage the development of supply chains for fuel that are zero or near to zero in terms of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide further training programs for port workers and seafarers with regards to the handling of alternative fuels
  • Leverage digital platforms to enhance port call optimisation
  • Parties will have regular meetings to update and discuss progress on actions for further developing green shipping corridors.

The MOU underscores the collective dedication to broader decarbonisation efforts within the maritime sector.

The collaboration between the parties will begin with the establishment of these two shipping routes:

  • Green Baltic X-PRESS (GBX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Klaipeda > Riga > Rotterdam
  • Green Finland X-PRESS (GFX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Helsinki > Tallinn > HaminaKotka > Rotterdam

These services are scheduled to commence in Q3 2024, marking a significant step towards more environmentally sustainable shipping services in Europe. This development is significant as these will be the very first scheduled feeder routes in Europe powered by green methanol, an alternative fuel that produces at least 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional marine fuel.

X-Press Feeders’ green methanol is sourced from fuel supplier OCI Global. The green methanol is made from green hydrogen and the decomposition of organic matter, such as waste and residues. 

OCI’s green methanol is independently certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Association headquartered in Germany. The ISCC system promotes and verifies the sustainable production of biomass, circular and bio-based materials and renewables.

X-Press Feeders’ Chief Operating Officer, Francis Goh, said: “By working together – X-Press Feeders and the six partner ports – aim to efficiently implement green shipping corridors and lead the maritime industry in sustainability. We chose the Nordic and Baltic states as the first markets to deploy our green methanol powered vessels because we found the ports and our customers in these markets to be very receptive.”

“This MoU represents a significant milestone in our commitment to a sustainable future for the maritime industry. By collaborating with these leading European ports, we can collectively drive the adoption of green technologies that accelerate the decarbonisation of our industry.”

Vladas Motiejūnas, Harbor Master of the Port of Klaipėda, said: “In recent years, Klaipeda Port has taken significant strides towards sustainability. This year marks the commencement of construction for green hydrogen production and refuelling stations at the port, along with the implementation of shore-side power supply (OPS) stations for roll-on/roll-off ferries.”

“Furthermore, Klaipeda Port proudly enters 2024 with the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, underscoring our commitment to environmental stewardship. Already, methanol bunkering operations are available at Klaipeda Port.”

“The integration of Klaipeda Port into environmentally sustainable shipping services by X-Press Feeders is a testament to our unwavering dedication to fostering a greener port.”


Photo credit: X-Press Feeders
Published: 8 April 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

Bunker barge “FlexFueler001” delivered 110 mt of LNG bunker fuel to chemical tanker “Liselotte Esberger”, marking a milestone since it was the first time Titan delivered to a vessel of E&S Tankers.





Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

LNG bunker fuel supplier Titan on Monday (19 February) said it executed a successful LNG bunkering operation for E&S Tankers, a joint venture of Essberger Tankers and Stolt Tankers as an operator of chemical tankers within Europe. 

The refuelling operation took place at the port of Antwerp on 15 January. 

“Our vessel, FlexFueler001, flawlessly delivered 110 mt of LNG to the Liselotte Esberger, marking a milestone since it is the first time we deliver to a vessel of E&S Tankers,” it said in a social media post. 

“This operation underscores our dedication to sustainable shipping practices and showcases our commitment to environmentally friendly solutions. We're proud to collaborate with E&S Tankers and look forward to furthering our shared mission.”

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

According to E&S Tankers website, the 7,135 dwt Liselotte Essberger arrived in Hamburg from a shipyard in China on 5 December 2023 and was christened the following day.  

The vessel is first of a total of four newbuildings ordered by the firm that are equipped with LNG dual-fuel engines.

Related: E&S Tankers launches second LNG dual fuel chemical tanker “John T. Essberger”


Photo credit: Titan and E&S Tankers
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Shipping Corridor

Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan’s top two busiest routes can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year, says Korean NPO Solutions for Our Climate.





Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Korea-based non-profit organisation Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) on Tuesday (13 February) said creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan's top two busiest routes – Busan-Tokyo and Yokohama; Busan-Los Angeles and Long Beach– can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year. 

This is equivalent to annual emissions from over 9 million passenger vehicles in the United States.

“We evaluated the anticipated impact of several proposed KoreaUnited States-Japan green shipping corridors involving ports of Busan (KRPUS), Incheon (KRINC), and Gwangyang (KRKAN) —South Korea’s three major container ports,” SFOC said in the report. 

Each of the three South Korean ports will have the most significant environmental impact if connected to ports of Tokyo (JPTYO)/Yokohama (JPYOK) in Japan and ports of Los Angeles (USLAX)/Long Beach (USLGB) in the United States. 

“If container ships that travel KRPUS – JPTYO/ JPYOK and KRPUS – USLAX/USLGB are converted to zero emission ships, we can expect significant reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions, approximately 20.7 million tCO2 and 20.6 million tCO2, respectively,” it added. 

Accordingly, reducing GHG emissions in the global maritime shipping will require coordinated multilateral commitments and actions.

The green shipping corridor initiative is a global effort to align the shipping industry with the 1.5°C trajectory. It aims to:

  • Create maritime routes in which mainly zero-emission ships travel
  • Run ports with 100 percent renewable energy
  • Enforce mandatory use of on-shore power for docked vessels.

“With increasing global shipping emissions, green corridors are key to decarbonising the sector,” SFOC said. 

“Our latest report on green corridors comes on the heels of South Korea and the United States' announcement to work together to implement cross-country green shipping corridors between several of their key ports.”


Photo credit: Solutions for Our Climate
Published: 14 February, 2024

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