The liner shipping industry is encouraging governments to develop a unified set of standards to reduce carbon emissions from ocean-going vessels by working through the United Nations' International Maritime Organization.
In a paper released on Monday, the World Shipping Council, which represents 29 container lines, said it anticipates that IMO negotiators will reach agreement on a global carbon emissions regime in 2011.
The World Shipping Council has consultative status at the IMO and is participating in the process of setting international regulations governing the liner shipping industry.
Governments and private sector companies are concerned about the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on climate change and are taking steps to reduce CO2 emissions in various industrial sectors.
However, given the global nature of liner shipping, efforts to regulate carbon emissions have lagged other sectors, such as those involving stationary sources of pollution.
The IMO in 2008 established a regulatory regime for those vessel emissions that adversely affect human health, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. Those regulations are known as Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or Marpol.
Governments at the IMO are now conducting negotiations to develop a global carbon emissions regime to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vessels. The World Shipping Council supports the IMO's efforts in this area based on its success in developing an international regime governing NOx, SOx and PM emissions in the global shipping sector.
Christopher L. Koch, president of the World Shipping Council, noted that ocean shipping is already the most carbon-efficient mode of transportation. An ocean vessel transporting a ton of cargo from Melbourne, Australia, to Long Beach, a distance of 7,935 miles, generates fewer carbon emissions than would come from transporting the same freight 1,442 miles by truck from Long Beach to Dallas.
Nevertheless, the liner industry continues to seek new technology to reduce its carbon footprint, which will also result in reduced fuel consumption and lower transportation costs. Efforts are underway to engineer better hull and propeller designs, implement waste heat recovery and reduce onboard power usage.
The industry is also studying the use of alternative fuels and investigating operational strategies that can reduce energy use.
The World Shipping Council stated it is preferable to develop a single, unified set of standards and regulations governing carbon emissions from vessels globally rather than having a patchwork of regulations developed by governments at the national or regional level.
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