Singapore from above

Slow shipping is not the answer to cutting emissions from shipping, the UK Chamber of Shipping pointed out. 

The UK trade body for shipping highlighted its argument while the latest round of UN ship climate negotiation is being held at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

“Whilst much has been made of the possible benefits of slow shipping, we still believe that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, and slow shipping is not the answer,” the UK Chamber of Shipping said. “Ships are at the heart of international trade and if they are forced to slow down, we may need more vessels to transport the goods we need. This would increase carbon emissions which we all want to avoid.”

As explained, not a reduction in shipping speed but international regulations that encourage innovation and technological advancement to help reduce emissions are needed.

The trade body has put tackling climate change at the top of its agenda. Shipping is six times more efficient than trucks and over 40 times more efficient than a freight aircraft as a mode of transport, but the chamber believes there is more to do to cut emissions. What is more, shipping as a global industry requires global collaboration and initiatives.

Last year, IMO countries met in London and reached a milestone agreement to limit carbon emissions from shipping through the adoption of the initial Green House Gas (GHG) Strategy.

The IMO is meeting this week to discuss short-term measures that will start delivering on its climate commitment deal by 2023. The meeting is going to see proposals from countries and organizations, many of which are built on previous submissions ranging from speed restrictions to goal-based approaches, including things like propeller upgrades and innovative paints, that support setting goals that allow shipowners to make their own choices tailored to their business.

The International Chamber of Shipping has submitted a hybrid goal-based approach which combines elements that also addresses the concerns of ships for which key operational decisions are made by the charterer.

“Last May we had a taster of what is to be discussed, where the majority of the IMO countries expressed their clear support for a goal-based approach. There are encouraging signs that the IMO is likely to support a goal-based approach at this session as well. However, it should not prolong indecision but signal at this meeting about the direction of travel,” the chamber continued.