Environmental Shipping Regulations: Current and Future Developments, and Challenges



  • In recent years, the focus of the shipping regulation has been on the environmental side, nothing new to the IMO it seems, but increasingly, the discussions seem to be taking a broader political route.
  • At the MEPC the attention continues to be focused on how to further reduce emissions from ships and work is being carried out to assess the efficacy of recent regulations such as the EEDI, the implementation of the forthcoming sulphur global cap, and the role of the IMO in mitigating the impact of GHG emissions from international shipping, including the recent approval of a ships’ data collection system related to further technical and operational measures for enhancing the energy efficiency of international shipping, to name a few.
  • Next session of the Committee, one of the core subjects for discussion is the expected adoption of the Data collection system for fuel consumption with an entry into force in 2018.
  • Implementation of the global sulphur cap and the fuel availability study has been completed and its findings will be discussed.  At the last session of the MEPC it was agreed, in principle, that a final decision on the date of the implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit should be taken next October, so maritime Administrations and the industry can prepare and plan accordingly.
  • Fuel availability analysis is expected to focus on the availability of compliance fuel, including alternative fuels such as LNG, as well as the availability of relevant technology, such as EGCS.
  • The finalisation of phase 1 of the EEDI review would focus on the need to amend the time periods, the reference line parameters for relevant ship types and the reduction rates. Availability of data has been one of the challenges experienced in previous sessions, and also the difficulties with modifying the reduction rates.  The next revision phase is at the midpoint of phase 2 in 2022.  
  • Last but not least important subject, on the agenda of the Committee related to air emission environmental regulations is related to the improvements related to shipping emissions that can and should be pursued.  The IMO has recognized the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate change as a major achievement of the international community.  This has formed the basis for ongoing exchange of views on the role of the IMO in mitigating the impact of GHG emissions from international shipping.  Discussions so far have been ranged from what, if any, could be the shipping share effort to curb emissions.  A full discussion is expected at the next session, with aspects that could include the structure and detailed analysis, development of a work plan, definition of objectives and their evaluations, among others.

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Source: SMM


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