Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is endorsing proposed international targets to reduce marine shipping’s carbon emissions per tonne-km by 50 per cent by 2050 in order to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Canadian Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipowners are committed to environmental protection and fully endorse this proactive global approach to reducing the carbon footprint of marine shipping,” said Bruce Burrows, President of CMC. “Similar to the airline industry, marine shipping is an international business and it is important that we have one global solution to the challenge of climate change.”

Last month, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) agreed to urge the U.N. agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to adopt the following reduction objectives – on behalf of the international shipping sector as a whole:

• To maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels;

• To reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50 per cent by 2050, compared to 2008; and

• To reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.

ICS will suggest in July that IMO should adopt these objectives as part of the initial IMO CO2 reduction strategy to be agreed in 2018, following the adoption of an IMO Roadmap at the request of the industry in 2016.

“Marine shipping is already the most carbon efficient way to transport goods and it has globally reduced emissions by 13 per cent between 2008 and 2012 but, given projections for increasing world trade, the sector recognizes that more needs to be done internationally to continue that progress,” Burrows explained.

He added that Canadian shipowners have been trailblazers in tackling greenhouse gases through environmental improvement programs like Green Marine and adopting new technologies.

“Canadian shipowners have spent more than $2 billion during the past few years on new vessels and advanced technologies that significantly reduce fuel consumption and corresponding carbon emissions. The level of investment and innovation is really unprecedented. There are already 18 new and revamped Canadian-flag ships sailing these waters and a further 14 coming in the next two years.”

Last month, CMC member Desgagnés christened and launched the first dual-fuel asphaltbitumen-chemical tanker in the world that can be powered by different types of fuel including liquefied natural gas, which substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions. LNG refueling distribution networks for vessels without specific service points and trading various routes remain a major challenge, but they are under development in collaboration with a number of business partners. For example, Gaz Métro and the Port of Montreal also announced last month that an LNG supply solution for marine fuel will now be available at the port.

International shipping (and international aviation) is not covered by the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) committed by governments as part of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement adopted in 2015. 

According to the 2014 IMO GHG Study, international shipping emitted 921 million tonnes of CO2 in 2008.  As a result of technical and operational measures, this figure declined by 13 per cent to less than 800 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012 or 2.2 per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. In the absence of additional CO2 reduction measures however, total CO2 from international shipping is currently projected by IMO to increase above 2008 levels due to additional demand for maritime transport.

ICS is the principal global trade association for shipowners.  Its member national shipowners associations, from 37 nations, cover all sectors and trades and over 80 per cent of the world merchant fleet. Chamber of Marine Commerce holds a seat on the Board of Directors.

ICS (together with BIMCO, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO) will be making a joint submission on behalf of the global shipping industry to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, which meets during the first week of July, preceded by a week-long Intersessional Working Group which will begin the development of an IMO strategy for reducing CO2 from shipping.