IMO sulphur cap regulation under discussion at SMM maritime conference

IMO sulphur cap regulation under discussion at SMM maritime conference

At the SMM maritime conference in Hamburg, Germany, stakeholders discussed the challenges of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) sulphur cap regulation.

The discussion between shipping industry heads, scientific experts and other stakeholders took place at the Global Maritime Environmental Congress, which was held at the SMM event for this fifth time this year. Under discussion were the ongoing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by the industry, ballast water management and the IMO’s sulphur cap regulation.

The latter is a particular concern, as it represents an agreement among global maritime stakeholders to limit the volume of sulphur in fuels for vessels to no more than 0.5% by the year 2020. Shipping is currently one of the most environmentally friendly forms of transport, with carbon dioxide emissions from ocean shipping representing just 2.2% of total global emissions. However, emissions from the sector are forecast to grow significantly over the next few years, and the IMO has introduced a number of regulations which seek to address this challenge.

What needs to be done to reduce the environmental impact of shipping?

The pursuit of more environmentally friendly shipping is vital to global climate change abatement efforts, but will require significant upfront investment from companies to achieve; this could be in the form of infrastructure for liquefied natural gas, or investment in filters to reduce the environmental impact of emissions.

Helge Bartels, general manager of Zeaborn Ship Management, sought to reassure attendees of the panel discussion that the challenges are not beyond the scope of those encountered by the shipping sector before, and that such challenges could be overcome, even despite the need for up-front investment.

She said: “There is nothing we can do to avoid immense capital investments. But taking a look at the rear view mirror should reassure us that we have always been an innovative industry, and we are going to overcome this challenge, as well.”

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