Shipping is experiencing increasing pressure to decarbonize its operations and to reduce emissions to air. In April 2018, the IMO adopted an ambitious GHG reduction strategy with a vision to decarbonize shipping as soon as possible within this century. With 2008 as a baseline year, this strategy aims to reduce with at least 50% total GHG emissions from shipping by 2050, while at the same time reducing the average carbon intensity (CO2 per tonne-mile) by at least 40% by 2030, and 70% before mid-century.

IMO’s GHG reduction ambitions for shipping

The decarbonization targets pose challenges for a range of stakeholders, from ship owners, charterers and cargo owners to ship builders, designers, engine manufacturers, fuel suppliers financiers and policy makers. Reaching these targets will require application of technology that is currently under development, acceptance of lower speed and deployment of large volumes of zero-carbon or carbon-neutral sustainable fuels.

The key to achieving reduction of emission is developing, maturing and scaling up solutions to a level where the cost is acceptable. Regulations should be supplemented by other policy measures and incentives to drive technology development and emission reductions, while at the same time ensuring the shipping activity is not restricted.