Maritime industry proposes research and development board

Maritime industry proposes research and development board
The international maritime industry has proposed the creation of a US$5 billion R&D board, funded by shipping companies

The global maritime transport industry has submitted a proposal to form the first collaborative shipping research and development (R&D) programme to help eliminate CO2 emissions from shipping. The proposal includes funding from shipping companies of around US$5 billion over a 10-year period.

International shipping is currently responsible for 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions. The industry-wide proposal for accelerating R&D comes as part of an effort to meet the climate change goals set out in the Paris Agreement in 2015, and in line with the CO2 reduction targets set out by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2018.

Meeting these targets will require the deployment of new zero-carbon technologies and propulsion systems, which do not currently exist in a form usable for large commercial ships. The shipping industry has therefore proposed that an International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) be created, a non-governmental organisation which would be overseen by IMO member states.

The IMRB would then be financed by a mandatory contribution of US$2 per tonne of marine fuel purchased for consumption by shipping companies worldwide. This initiative would generate around US$5 billion over a 10-year period to help accelerate decarbonisation. It is hoped that additional stakeholders will also choose to contribute substantial additional funding.

The industry has proposed that the IMRB could be implemented by 2023 via amendments to the existing IMO Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The proposal will now be discussed by governments in London at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in March 2020.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
20 December 2019

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