International Maritime Organization to negotiate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 15.3.2024 14.30 | Published in English on 19.3.2024 at 10.45
Press release
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Photo: Mika Pakarinen, Keksi/LVM

The International Maritime Organization Marine Environment Protection Committee convenes in London on 18–22 March 2024. The committee’s 81st session will discuss global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.

The 81st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will also discuss more precise regulation of the carbon intensity of ships. In addition, the session will address the energy efficiency of ships, ballast water regulation and regulation of plastic waste ending up from ships into seas, including container safety. Furthermore, the intention is to also discuss the regulation of ships’ scrubbers.

The goal of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is to reach carbon neutrality of maritime transport by or around 2050, taking national circumstances into account. The IMO member states have agreed that global action to reduce emissions must be adopted by 2025. The agreed measures would enter into force no later than 2027.

Finland holds that an ambitious IMO emission reduction measure would even out the imbalance in international regulation of maritime emissions and the competitive environment of shipping and business between the EU and the rest of the world. Emission reductions in maritime transport should primarily be promoted through sufficiently determined international measures. If determined international action is taken, a significant double burden on EU actions will have to be prevented and dismantled.

Ice navigation and ice-strengthened vessels must be taken into account

Finland welcomes the fact that the IMO is developing and adopting an economic emission reduction measure that steers towards low-carbon and carbon-free fuels. In addition, Finland supports a global standard regulating the phased reduction of the greenhouse gas intensity of ship fuels. The fuel standard must be as flexible as possible and consistent with EU regulation.

Finland considers it important that the navigation of vessels in ice conditions and ice-strengthened vessels are taken into account in the policy instrument and in the fuel standard. If the IMO proceeds towards a global carbon content fee for fuels, Finland aims to allocate part of the proceeds of the fee to the development of solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ice-strengthened vessels and icebreakers.

Finland supports for the most part the proposed clarifications to energy efficiency regulation. Finland pays special attention to ice-strengthened vessels.

Finland supports the clarification of carbon intensity regulation so that different circumstances and trip types can be better taken into account. 

A definition of released scrubber wash water should be added to the Convention

Together with other EU countries, Finland proposes that a definition of wash water released from ships’ scrubbers into the sea be added to the MARPOL Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships.

With respect to container safety, Finland is in favour of a standardised requirement to notify the nearest coastal state and the flag state of the vessel if containers are dropped from a vessel into the sea. Finland supports the continuation of the implementation of the action plan adopted to reduce plastic litter ending up into the sea from ships.

Finland endorses the drawing up of guidelines for the management of ballast water, which is challenging to handle, as it is a problem in the Baltic Sea. Finland is also in favour of continuing the preparation of amendments to the Ballast Water Management Convention.

What’s next?

The Marine Environment Protection Committee convenes in London on 18–22 March 2024. Negotiations on global emission reduction measures will continue at the intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Greenhouse Gases on 23–27 September 2024 and at the next session MEPC on 30 September – 4 October 2024.


Ministry of Transport and Communications:
Eero Hokkanen, Ministerial Adviser, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the IMO, tel. +358 50 476 0401, eero.hokkanen(at)

Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom:
Anita Mäkinen, Chief Specialist, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the IMO, tel. +358 40 162 4592, anita.makinen(at)