Measures to reduce GHG emissions from ships discussed

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 13.5.2019 9.00
Press release
(Photo: ESL Shipping)
(Photo: ESL Shipping)

This year the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, will hold a wider discussion on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The Committee will meet in London on 13-17 May 2019.

In spring 2018, the IMO adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The aim is to reduce the total GHG emissions from the global shipping industry by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. At the meeting, representatives of IMO member states will discuss concrete measures on how to reduce emissions already before 2023 when the implementation of the goals will be assessed. 

The topics on the meeting agenda will include vessel speed limits which is considered one of the most efficient measures to quickly reduce GHG emissions from international shipping.  Finland is in favour of speed optimation of vessels but has certain reservations about mandatory speed limits, especially in short sea shipping on the Baltic Sea. Together with other countries, Finland aims to find efficient solutions that will take winter navigation and other regional special characteristics into consideration.

New technologies and energy efficiency play a key role

At the meeting, Finland will highlight new environmentally friendly technologies, and digitalisation and automation of shipping that can help reduce emissions.  Finland is in favour of speedy introduction of alternative fuels, such as rotor sails that make use of windpower, battery technology and biofuels.

Key measures in reducing GHG emissions from shipping are regulation of energy efficiency of new vessels and improvement of energy efficiency of the current vessels. Finland is in favour of setting the date for the agreed energy efficiency requirements from 2025 to 2022 in terms of big gas tankers, container ships and bulk vessels.

Black carbon

At the meeting, Finland's priorities will also include black carbon emissions.  There are no limits to black carbon emissions from ships, even though they have a significant impact on climate change, especially in the vulnerable Arctic areas. Finland has submitted a proposal for the meeting on how to proceed with the discussions on limiting black carbon emissions. Finland is in favour of including black carbon emission calculations in the fourth IMO GHG Study. 

A decision on reducing emissions from global shipping will be made in the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee. Shipping accounts for approximately 2.5 per cent of global GHG emissions, but without any reduction measures the emissions in the sector are expected to grow by 50-250 per cent in the coming decades. The growth of the global trade will increase maritime transport considerably. 

The meeting will be attended by representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of the Environment, Transport and Communications Agency and shipping industry.

What next?

The meeting is expected to issue a preliminary decision on the measures for reducing emissions from shipping by 2023. The meeting will also discuss how the impact of the reduction measures on states could be assessed. It is important for Finland that clear measures for reducing emissions from shipping will be agreed upon as soon as possible before 2023. 

Päivi Antikainen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 50 382 7101, [email protected], Twitter @PaiviAntikainen
Eero Hokkanen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 476 0401, [email protected], Twitter @eerohokkanen