Balancing environmental aspirations not only with economic realities, but also with political realities, is not easy, ICS Chairman Spyros M Polemis told delegates at the influential CMA Conference in Connecticut this week.
In a speech entitled, “Balancing Environmental Aspirations With Economic Realities,” Polemis highlighted the danger of “aspirational” legislation; stressed that shipping is a global industry, requiring global rules; and urged legislators to ensure that their proposed environmental legislation is compatible with technical and economic realities.
“If major trading nations, such as the U.S., adopt rules which are at variance to those agreed upon by governments at IMO, we have chaos; and if individual U.S. States decide to implement their own rules, in conflict with Federal requirements, it is even worse; we actually run the risk of double chaos.”
Polemis highlighted the issues of ballast water management and sulphur emissions – pointing out the need to ensure that enough low sulphur fuel is available to enable the international shipping community to meet low emissions requirements, and the need to establish that equipment actually exists to meet ballast water treatment standards.
He also discussed industry concerns that market-based measures may be seen by some governments as fund-raising opportunities with the shipping industry viewed as a “cash cow” by some.
He concluded that shipping should be treated like a sovereign state in its own right.
“A ship may be flagged in one country, and owned in another, while the cargo carried will be of economic benefit to a variety of different importing and exporting nations. This is why we need to maintain a special global regime for shipping,” he said.