Shipowners support global efforts to reduce vessels’ carbon-dioxide emissions but don’t want to be used as a “cash cow” by governments seeking revenue, the International Chamber of Shipping said.
“Some governments appear to be more interested in how much money can be raised from shipping rather than the emissions reductions that this might deliver,” said Simon Bennett, the chamber’s director of external relations. “Just because we lack a strong political constituency, we should not be treated as a cash cow.”
Bennett commented as the ICS, which represents global shipowners, presented a report in Doha on vessels’ reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions and improvements in fuel efficiency.
The Doha conference is sponsored by the International Maritime Organization, which has adopted shipowner-backed regulations for technical and operational measures to reduce ships’ emissions. The regulations become effective in January.
The IMO regulations will help shipowners meet commitments to improve fuel efficiency by 20 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050, Bennett said.
He warned, however, that the emphasis should remain on reduced emissions and improved efficiency. Steep increases in costs could force some shippers to switch to less-efficient transportation modes that would increase emissions, he said.
Most ICS members believe any charges should be linked to fuel consumption, instead of emissions-trading programs or other measures that could distort markets or produce uneven regulation.
The ICS believes suggestions by the International Monetary Fund and others for the shipping industry to pay more than $25 billion a year “are totally inequitable, and would almost certainly be viewed by developing countries as a tax on trade or as a kind of green protectionism,” Bennett said.
“If excessive costs are added to shipping, there could be greater use of less carbon-efficient shore-based transport modes which will generate additional CO2,” he said.