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Shipping Nations, Groups Call for IMO Green Research Fund

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 10, 2021

© leeyiutung / Adobe Stock

© leeyiutung / Adobe Stock

A group of prominent shipping nations and organizations are calling for a $5 billion research fund to help launch zero-emissions vessels by 2030, in a move aiming to accelerate the industry's efforts to decarbonize maritime transport.

A proposal by governments including Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland is being submitted Wednesday to the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO), in a bid to establish the IMO Maritime Research Fund using mandatory contributions from shipping companies, a concept first proposed by the shipping industry in December 2019.

The fund would support a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) to commission collaborative programs to research and develop zero-carbon maritime technologies, including working prototypes. It would also assist CO2 reduction projects in developing countries, including Pacific island nations.

International shipping transports more than 80% of global trade and emits 2% of global emissions. The sector has made strides to reduce its air emissions in recent years, but zero-carbon technologies that can be applied at scale to large oceangoing vessels do not yet exist. 

The industry has agreed to pay for the proposed R&D program within a global regulatory framework under the supervision of the IMO. The regulatory proposal being submitted to the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76) due to take place in June 2021 is cosponsored by major international shipowners’ associations BIMCO, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), IMCA, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), INTERTANKO, IPTA and World Shipping Council (WSC).