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International shipping policy

Small steps in the right direction at IMO meeting

Progress is being made in negotiations about regulating the global shipping industry's climate impact. But the process is complex and takes time. That's the status after the first meeting of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee since the adoption of the new strategy for climate-neutral shipping around 2050.

Last week, all member countries of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee met in London for the first time since those same countries last year adopted a groundbreaking and ambitious strategy stating that global shipping should be climate-neutral around 2050. One of the main points on the agenda was the establishment of global, binding climate regulation of shipping.

At the IMO meeting, an agreement was reached on the structure of further negotiations. Thus, IMO will, among other things, continue to work on an economic mechanism that will provide an incentive for the transition towards net-zero and a fuel standard that will gradually help reduce the content of greenhouse gases in shipping's fuel consumption.

“We have always known that negotiations to put global climate regulation of shipping in place would be a difficult and complex process, both technically and politically. The negotiations take place against a volatile geopolitical backdrop, where countries have vastly different starting points and interests. Therefore, it is essential that all 175 member countries maintain the ambition for climate-neutral shipping around 2050. It is in itself positive that the negotiations continue,” said Nina Porst, director of climate, environment, and safety at Danish Shipping.

Therefore, it is essential that all 175 member countries maintain the ambition for climate-neutral shipping around 2050
Nina Porst, Director of Climate, Environment, and Safety at Danish Shipping

It is also essential for promoting shipping companies' investments in new green ships that work on climate regulation of shipping is progressing.

"We are far from the goal, and difficult negotiations lie ahead. We have experienced small but sensible progress this week. The framework is set, and the process continues. Now, the framework must be filled with more detailed content. I remain optimistic and believe that we can achieve a good result and get the necessary regulation in place by 2025 at the latest," said Nina Porst.


With the strategy, it was also decided that regulation in the form of a pricing mechanism, which should help reduce the price gap between green and fossil fuels, and a fuel standard, which should gradually reduce the content of fossil fuels in the shipping fuel mix, should be negotiated by 2025 at the latest and implemented from 2027. This is the work that has now begun in earnest.

Read more about the adoption of the IMO Strategy

Read more about MEPC 81 on the IMO website