World Ports Conference Keynote: Implementing the IMO GHG Strategy

World Ports Conference

Friday, 25 June 2021

Keynote by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

Implementing the IMO GHG Strategy

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It's a great pleasure to join you today on the final day of the World Ports Conference.

Incidentally, today is the International Day of the Seafarer – a day when we honour the seafarers who keep world trade flowing, including supplies of essential food and medicines.

For a second year in a row, we are marking this day as hundreds of thousands of seafarers continue to face restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Access to repatriation, shore leave and medical support all continue to be a challenge.

As key workers, seafarers should be entitled to priority vaccination and allowed to travel without restrictions. I continue to urge more IMO Member States to give seafarers their due and designate them as key workers.

The pandemic has had – and continues to have – an immense socio-economic impact on the shipping industry.

But we need to look ahead to the future of the industry. We need to take advantage of the opportunity to drive a green recovery and ensure a sustainable maritime future, taking advantage of all that technology has to offer, whilst continuing to keep seafarers at the core of shipping's future. Ports and Port Authorities will be critical in driving the green recovery.

The argument to embrace a digital future has never been clearer. The pandemic has highlighted the value of electronic communication, which is fast, effective, reliable and COVID-secure.

Electronic data exchange is mandatory under IMO's Facilitation Convention and amendments which have just been approved will make the maritime single window mandatory – ensuring all data for ships and port clearance processes will, in future, be exchanged through a single portal.

Digitalization also has a part to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. Port call optimisation and Just in Time arrival of ships improves port efficiency and cuts ship fuel consumption – and leads to a decrease in emissions from ships. Cooperation between the shipping, port and logistic industries will be key to progress on these important initiatives.

This leads me to the topic of this session on tackling GHG emissions from ships and decarbonization of shipping.

There can be no doubt that shipping is in a transformative phase. Confronting climate change and decarbonizing shipping are the key themes of our time.

Just under ten years ago, IMO adopted, in July 2011, the first set of mandatory measures to improve the energy efficiency of new build ships and fundamentally change the baseline for the performance of the incoming global fleet.

The pace of work to address GHG emissions from shipping has continued more recently within the framework of the IMO Initial Strategy for reducing GHG emissions from shipping

As you will know, last week, IMO adopted further, key short-term measures aimed at cutting the carbon intensity of all ships by at least 40% by 2030, in line with the ambitions set out in the IMO Initial Strategy.

These new measures combine technical and operational approaches to improve the energy efficiency of ships. All ships will have to calculate their Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and establish their annual operational carbon intensity indicator (CII) and CII rating.

In other words, ships will get a rating of their energy efficiency - A, B, C, D, E - where A is the best.

 This is the first time IMO has established a formal rating system for ships. This sends a strong signal to the market: Administrations, port authorities and other stakeholders as appropriate, are encouraged to provide incentives to ships rated as A or B.

The adoption was made in the context of a comprehensive impact assessment report which evaluated the potential impacts on States, particularly developing States.

IMO Member States have agreed a work plan to support consideration of mid- and long-term measures that will assist the Committee to make further progress towards the goals in the Initial GHG Strategy.

IMO will continue to adopt concrete measures to move shipping on the path to decarbonization. We will revise our Initial GHG Strategy in 2023 in the light of experience gained.

The need to decarbonize will impact ship design, ship operation and future fuels. There needs to be investment in R&D, and infrastructure. IMO is collaborating with a range of partners to further promote and accelerate research and development into low- and zero-carbon marine fuels.

This includes many stakeholders, from public and private sectors, not only in the shipping and port industry, but also private and development banks, and academia.

The way forward is complex, but by working together with determination we will ensure that shipping will make a key contribution in the fight against climate change.

Collaborative actions are key to making sure no one is left behind when it comes to shipping's decarbonized future.

The support of our donors is critical. We have several ongoing partnership initiatives with key stakeholders including our UN partner agencies, the World Bank, the European Union, Norway, Germany, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea.

All our initiatives have one common goal – to strengthen partnerships, build capacity and accelerate innovation and technology uptake, and to address the challenges faced by developing countries, in particular, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

IMO is making tangible progress in the implementation of the Initial GHG Strategy.

Shipping must decarbonize. Ports must contribute to this process too, as ports will be where alternative fuels are supplied and incentives offered to greener vessels. As we cooperate to optimize the logistics chain, every option selected will help shape the future of our entire industry.

I encourage the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders to explore the best ways to meet our shared goals safely and efficiently. Working together is the key to achieving a brighter, cleaner, greener future for maritime.

Thank you.