IMO Singapore Webinar - Future of Shipping – Decarbonization

Webinar  - Future of Shipping – Decarbonization

17 September 2020


Opening remarks by Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General

Ladies and gentlemen,

My thanks go to Minister Ong Ye Kung and to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, for organizing, jointly with IMO, the Maritime Perspectives: Future of Shipping webinar series. 

We are living through unprecedented times, in which the ability for shipping services to deliver vital goods is central to responding to, and eventually overcoming this pandemic.

Sustainable development is key to the post-COVID recovery. And shipping will be at the heart of that.

But shipping also needs to secure its own sustainability.

There can be little doubt that the single biggest challenge we are still facing is the battle against global warming and climate change.

IMO has adopted a detailed initial strategy to achieve decarbonization, with clear goals and ambitions. Most importantly, the goal is to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, which means a reduction in carbon intensity for individual ships. At the same time, IMO is pursuing efforts to phase out GHG emissions from shipping entirely, as soon as possible within this century.

One thing is certain. New technologies, new fuels and innovation will be vital to meet the ambitious targets of the IMO strategy.

While research into developing zero-carbon marine fuels is underway – with electricity, hydrogen, ammonia or biofuels considered viable options - more action is needed to speed-up this process. This requires huge investments, notably in R&D and infrastructure development.

To achieve this, IMO is stepping up its efforts to act as the global forum and promoter of R&D in zero-carbon marine fuels, bringing together interested stakeholders, from the public and private sectors, but also private and development banks and other potential donors from around the world. In this context, we look forward to the discussions during the next MEPC on the ambitious proposal on the International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB).

In parallel, IMO will embark-on emission reduction mechanisms, like market-based measures, to incentivise the uptake of alternative renewable fuels.

We also want to ensure that no country is left behind in the transition to carbon-neutral shipping. IMO continues to lead-the way with the portfolio of continuously expanding technical cooperation and capacity building projects.

You will hear more on IMO's decarbonization-related initiatives from our Department of Partnerships and Projects, who will introduce "NextGEN", a concept for-a collaborative global ecosystem of maritime decarbonization initiatives.

IMO is determined to progress on our major policy issues despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are determined to keep up the momentum for implementing the GHG strategy.

We have re-scheduled remote sessions of meetings which were postponed from the first half of this year, and we will hold-a working group on reduction of GHG emissions from ships in October, followed by Marine Environment Protection Committee, the policy‑making body, in November.

I would like to conclude though by calling on all Member States and stakeholders to continue their constructive cooperation on the implementation of IMO's GHG strategy and the short-term GHG reduction measures, in particular, and so that, when we meet again in November, IMO can demonstrate its leadership in reducing GHG emissions from shipping in the shape of a solid set of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI.

If we all work together, we can ensure that Shipping has a truly sustainable, decarbonized future.

Thank you.