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Regulating CO2 by Fleets is Effective Approach Says Danish Shipping

CO2 regulations
(file photo)

Published May 7, 2021 7:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

As the shipping industry and regulators continue to debate the best approach to achieving decarbonization, the influential organization Danish Shipping is presenting a new way of looking at compliance. In a new report sent to the International Maritime Organization, the group that represents the Danish industry suggested looking at compliance by fleets as opposed by individual ships.

Based on a new analysis conducted by the consultants CE Delft, Danish Shipping suggests that the path to lower CO2 emissions from ships will be reduced by choosing a fleet-based approach to efficiency requirements. They believe that achieving climate-neutral shipping requires flexibility.

The analysis shows that if older ships are allowed to continue unaltered rather than be retrofitted, that would release funds to build completely new ships with very low or no CO2 emissions. At the same time, the approach will ensure that total CO2 emissions would not be greater than if the older ships are also required to be retrofitted.

“It is extremely important that the world fleet becomes more efficient, but if we are to achieve our goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, the new fuels must also be part of the picture. The analysis states that green fuels will not be in use in this decade unless an incentive is created. That incentive can be created by the IMO adopting a fleet-wide approach – without compromising the level of ambition,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn, Executive Director for Security, Environment and Maritime Research at Danish Shipping.

The report outlines how it would be faster and more effective at achieving the goal of cutting overall CO2 emissions from shipping by adopting regulations based on the overall performance possible based on a shipping company’s fleet and not on an individual ship. To achieve this result requires a combination of new low- and zero-emission ships entering into operation along with an acceptance by the end of this decade of climate-neutral fuels that are going to be more expensive.

“Instead of spreading efforts too thinly on all ships, you should instead focus on the newest and greenest ships, and this has been confirmed with the new study,” says Schwenn. “We are clearly proponents of looking at a fleet in its totality when measuring the CO2 emissions of a shipping company.”

The Danish Maritime Authority reports that it has submitted the analysis to the IMO. They presented it not as a specific proposal but as a set of ideas that can be included in the discussions. Danish Shipping says it will use the analysis in its work with the IMO. 

“The analysis is part of influencing the IMO member states and making them see that a fleet-based approach is the most logical, sensible, and ambitious way of pushing for the green transition for ships,” says Schwenn. “The fleet-based approach can be organized in such a way that you are at least as likely to achieve the set reduction targets. We, therefore, believe that CO2 regulation should be possible at the fleet level if that is how the shipping company or ship operator wants to approach compliance.”

A copy of the report is available online for review from Danish Shipping.