IMO and EBRD sign agreement on liquefied natural gas for shipping

Kitack Lim welcomed liquefied natural gas for shipping projects © International Maritime Organization
Kitack Lim © International Maritime Organization

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on sustainability projects, such as liquefied natural gas for shipping.

The MoU represents the first such agreement between the IMO and a multilateral development bank, and will promote bunkering, shore power projects and liquefied natural gas for shipping and maritime sustainability solutions.

It was signed by IMO secretary general Kitack Lim and the first vice president of EBRD, Phil Bennett, to form a partnership between the two organisations that will help to develop sustainability-focused capacity building projects in certain maritime regions and ports in select third countries.

What will the partnership achieve?

Under the MoU, the two organisations will provide technical advice and investment financing to support a number of projects in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and other countries in the wider European neighbourhood.

These projects will focus on capacity building, and institutional development, to support the transition towards a global sustainable transport sector and to fulfil Europe’s obligations to international development and aid within the framework of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Projects could include:

  • Safe transport of dangerous goods;
  • Facilitating electronic business into maritime traffic;
  • Sensitivity mapping and oil spill exercises;
  • Regulatory and policy reforms associated with ships using shore-based power sources; and
  • Aiding ports in assessing emissions and developing reduction strategies.

What did the IMO say about the partnership?

Lim said that the joint MoU was part of the IMO’s wider commitment to sustainable development within the UN’s framework: “This strategic partnership, combining IMO’s global mandate and outreach and EBRD’s experience and expertise on investment and finance, is expected to contribute a great deal to sustainable maritime transport and the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.

The development of liquefied natural gas for shipping applications is expected to become a primary strategy for reducing carbon emissions in the sector, contributing to a reduced environmental impact across the entire industry.

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