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ICS welcomes historic deal to cut shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions

7 July 2023

Industry re-asserts that a global levy on ship’s GHG emissions must now be adopted rapidly if the ambitious goals agreed are to remain plausible. 

Speaking at the close of the intensive two-week session of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) negotiations in London, Simon Bennett, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Deputy Secretary General, remarked:

“ICS greatly welcomes the ambitious agreement reached by governments at IMO today for shipping to achieve net zero emissions ‘by or around 2050’, in line with the Paris Agreement and the commitment made by the shipping industry at COP 26 in Glasgow back in 2021. This historic IMO agreement gives a very strong signal to ship operators and, most importantly, to energy producers who must now urgently supply zero GHG marine fuels in very large quantities if such a rapid transition is to be possible.”

Simon Bennett added “The checkpoints agreed for 2030 and 2040 are particularly ambitious. The industry will do everything possible to achieve these goals including the 70 to 80 percent absolute reduction of GHG emissions now demanded of the entire global shipping sector by 2040.  But this can only be achieved if IMO rapidly agrees to a global levy on ships’ GHG emissions to support a ‘fund and reward’ mechanism, as proposed by the industry. We urgently need to reduce the cost gap between conventional and alternative marine fuels and incentivise the production and uptake of new fuels at the scale now required to meet this accelerated transition. 2040 is less than 17 years away and the availability of zero GHG marine fuels today is virtually zero.”

Simon Bennett continued “It is very positive that a majority of governments now support a levy for shipping involving flat rate contributions by ships per tonne of GHG emitted to an IMO fund to expedite a rapid transition. The ICS ‘fund and reward’ proposal remains firmly on the table as a deliverable solution and will now be subject to a comprehensive impact assessment by UNCTAD to be completed by early next year, so that an economic measure can be adopted in 2025. This will be vital it we are to reach a take-off point by 2030 for the use of new fuels to achieve the extremally ambitious goal which IMO has now set for 2040.”

“ICS is confident that this economic impact assessment will demonstrate that the ‘fund and reward’ proposal, or something similar, is the only practical way forward if the ambitious GHG reduction targets agreed by IMO this week are to remain realistic and achievable.”

“This week’s agreement is historic for our industry and sends a very strong message that the maritime sector is serious about achieving net zero and addressing dangerous climate change in line with the Paris Agreement.” concluded Mr Bennett.


Notes to editors

Details of the ICS Fund and Reward proposal can be found here.