In a statement sent to Bunkerspot, Maersk has said that the 76th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has ‘exposed the fundamental divide between IMO Member States on GHG measures’ – but nevertheless ‘some important progress was made’.
As previously reportedly, MEPC 76 – which began last Thursday and concludes today – did secure approval for a package of ‘short term’ regulations that focus on reducing emissions on existing ships. They included the carbon intensity index (CII), the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and an enhancement of the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP). While the new regulations have generally been welcomed, many environmental NGOs have criticised them for their ‘lack of ambition’.
While Maersk was pleased to see the short measures adopted, it felt that there needs to be more clarity on their implementation. Most importantly, the shipping company believed that the industry must now focus on ‘real transition measures’ – and develop time frames for market based measures (MBMs) and carbon prices.
Simon C Bergulf, Maersk’s Regulatory Affairs Director, summarised the shipowners’s position: ‘This MEPC exposed the fundamental divide between IMO Member States on GHG measures. It was not an easy task for the chairman to maintain the discussions on the right track but thankfully some important progress was made.
‘Whilst Maersk welcomes the adoption of the short-term measures, the metrics to be used for their implementation are still unclear and this means that their effect remains to be seen. Moreover, we find that the short-term measures lack incentives for high performing vessels and thereby for low and zero carbon fuels. It is nonetheless positive that IMO can now tackle real transition measures with an adopted working plan that provides a view of next steps and a timeframe. Maersk hopes that it will enable the IMO to agree on a market based measure by 2025, as requested by several IMO Member States.
‘A carbon price as part of a global market-based measure is needed as a matter of urgency to secure the uptake of renewable fuels. Developing such a mechanism will entail substantial work and it must be future-proof both in terms of including LCAs, all relevant greenhouse gases and a mandate for strong enforcement.
‘The adopted plan also refers to the need for IMO to rapidly look at the legal framework for a market-based measure. For Maersk, such a measure must be developed within the scope of current IMO Conventions (MARPOL), again we cannot afford to delay adoption of a carbon price due to legal disagreements. Several legal studies presented during MEPC make it very clear that there is no legal impediment for the IMO to develop a market-based measure within current structures. If IMO would have to agree on a new convention this would substantially delay any adoption of market based measures.
‘As regards the global R&D fund (IMRF), we were happy to see the support from Members States representing different regions and hope that the opposition to this very actionable and immediate initiative is not a reflection of obstacles to overcome in the process of agreeing on a market based measure. We are happy to see that the IMRF will be further discussed at the next MEPC, but would also like to stress that the R&D is needed in the short-term and not at the end of this decade.’