International Conference on Maritime Energy Management (MARENER 2017), World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden

International Conference on Maritime Energy Management (MARENER 2017)
World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden
24 January 2017
Opening address by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here once again at the World Maritime University and I am grateful for the opportunity to say a few words at the opening of what promises to be a thought-provoking and interesting event.

In recent years, shipping has been clearly acknowledged as vital to the concept of sustainable growth and development. It is, by some margin, the most cost-effective and environment-friendly way to transport goods around the world, supporting global trade and prosperity, and improving the well-being of the global population.

But, despite this, the industry is under continuous pressure to become safer, greener and cleaner, as well as more efficient. For shipping, the increased pressure to reduce costs and improve environmental performance both point to one thing – energy management. A successful energy-management strategy could include a wide range of options – the use of renewable and alternative energy sources, enhanced hull design, improved operational procedures, better use of digital technology to optimize performance and create a culture of energy management among a properly trained and motivated workforce. All these ideas, and more, will be examined at this event over the next two days.

And we must never forget that energy management is a key component of shipping's response to climate change. Climate change is real, and we all have a moral obligation to do what we can to stop it or to slow it down. That obligation applies to us as individuals and it applies collectively to people at their workplace, in business or in industry. So shipping has an obligation, too. And so do Governments, who represent the billions of ordinary people who will be – or are in some cases already being – affected by climate change.

At IMO, the world's Governments come together to turn that moral obligation into something more tangible. They turn it into a regulatory imperative. They take the broad-based yet unspecific agreement that "something must be done" as a starting point and turn it into a set of understandable, achievable and effective regulations that set out "what concretely has to be done."

As far as shipping is concerned, this process has two distinct elements – technical and political. Neither is straightforward but we are making good progress on both.

Let's look first at the progress we have made on the technical front.

In 2011, IMO adopted a suite of technical and operational measures which, together, provide an energy-efficiency framework for ships. These mandatory measures entered into force as a package on 1 January 2013, addressing ship types responsible for approximately 85 per cent of CO2 emissions from international shipping. Together, the Energy Efficiency Design Index, or EEDI and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, or SEEMP represent the first-ever mandatory global regime for CO2 emission reduction in an entire industry sector. They are significant achievements of which IMO is, justifiably, very proud.

But they are not the end of the story. Just last year in October, building on those ground-breaking energy-efficiency measures, IMO adopted a system for collecting data on ships' fuel-oil consumption which will be mandatory and will apply globally. Systematic and robust data collection will be the first in a three-step approach leading to an informed decision on whether any further measures are needed to enhance energy efficiency and address GHG emissions from international shipping. If so, policy options would then be considered.

IMO also approved a "roadmap" for developing a comprehensive strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which foresees an initial GHG strategy being adopted in 2018 and a revised strategy adopted in 2023. This again, sends a clear signal that IMO is ready to build on the existing technical and operational measures for ship energy efficiency to further address emissions from international shipping and collectively pave the way for further global action.

We are also heavily involved in technical cooperation projects to help implement these measures. GloMEEP, a joint project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and IMO, was formally launched in September 2015 and is now well underway. Focussing on developing countries, where shipping is increasingly concentrated, GloMEEP is creating global, regional and national partnerships to build the capacity to address maritime energy efficiency and for countries to bring this issue into the mainstream within their own development policies, programmes and dialogues.

More recently, under an ambitious project that is funded by the EU and implemented by IMO, the first two institutes were selected to host regional Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs). Forming a global network, these MTCCs will become centres of excellence, providing leadership in promoting ship energy-efficiency technologies and operations.

Although IMO was originally founded as a strictly technical body, there is no doubt that, today, the political and economic dimensions of the Organization's work are becoming increasingly influential and we are adapting and changing accordingly.

Today, shipping is perhaps the most international of all the world's great industries. The ownership and management chain surrounding any particular vessel can embrace many different countries; it is not unusual to find that shipowners, operators, shippers, charterers, insurers and classification societies, not to mention the crew, are all of different nationalities and that none of these are from the country where the ship is registered.

Why is it so important for shipping to be regulated globally? To ensure their effective implementation and the creation of a level playing field. It is crucial for regulations to apply globally and equally to all participants. Global regulations do not allow anyone to gain an advantage either by cutting corners or by imposing unilateral requirements. And, perhaps most importantly, they ensure that ships have to comply with the same rules and technical standards wherever in the world they operate and regardless of which flag they fly.

You cannot have a situation where a ship leaves one port, fully compliant with all the rules and regulations that apply there, only to find that when it arrives at its destination halfway round the world, it has to comply with a whole different set of rules. No – clearly that just won't work. What is required are common standards for lifeboats, for firefighting systems, and ship construction methods. That's why shipping needs an international, global process for setting standards and making rules and regulations. And that's exactly what Governments do at IMO.

These are key principles. Everybody suffers if they are undermined, not just the shipping industry but the billions of people all over the world who depend on it.

That's why I recently wrote to senior European Union officials expressing my concern about the proposal to include shipping in a regional emission trading scheme if IMO does not deliver a global measure by 2021.

As I explained earlier, just a few months ago the Member States of IMO, by consensus, agreed on a roadmap with 2023 as the final target date for the strategy. I am concerned that a final decision to extend the EU-ETS to shipping emissions would not only be premature but would seriously impact on the work of IMO to address GHG emissions from international shipping. Inclusion of emissions from ships in the EU-ETS significantly risks undermining efforts on a global level. My fear is that this could easily be the first step on a slippery slope towards fragmentation of the regulatory regime that controls global shipping.

Yes, I was aware when I wrote those letters that there would be some controversy. It is important that everyone understands what is really at stake here and that unilateral or regional action that conflicts with or undermines actions may threaten worldwide confidence in the consistent, uniform system of regulation developed by IMO.

We all need an effective, functional shipping industry if we are to achieve sustainable development, now and in the future. And shipping needs to operate within an effective and functional global regulatory regime. It is no one's interest if that is undermined.

I think everybody should draw great encouragement from the collective will shown by global leaders in adopting the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which passed the threshold for entry into force in October last year. The progress made at IMO later that same month clearly reflects the positive spirit of the Paris Agreement.

Of course, no one should underestimate the size and scale of the problem. According to the estimates in the Third IMO GHG Study (2014), international shipping emitted almost 800 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012, or about 2.2 per cent of the total global emission volume for that year.

However, although shipping is already the most energy-efficient mode of mass transport of cargo, the international community must deliver further realistic and pragmatic solutions - and, as I said before, these must work from both a technical and a political perspective, and be applicable globally to all ships regardless of the flag they fly.

IMO's achievements, I believe, not only reflect the Organization's strong commitment to contributing to the ambitious and important goals of the Paris Agreement, but also the fact that IMO continues to lead in delivering on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude with a few words about our host for this conference, the World Maritime University. As an academic institution, WMU's primary role is to generate world-class knowledge on maritime and oceans affairs and disseminate it for the benefit of humankind. As a global centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, WMU continues building global capacity and promoting sustainable development.

Since 2008, 12 international conferences and seminars have been held here and have attracted thousands of participants from the government sector, international organizations, industry and academia. MARENER is the 13th, and I am sure it will be another addition to WMU's track record of generating and disseminating knowledge through such excellent events.

Thank you.