ICS Chairman: Shipping will deliver in terms of CO2

An upcoming IMO meeting will be key in the continued efforts to settle a CO2 agreement for shipping, ICS Chairman Esben Poulsson tells ShippingWatch.


Shipping will deliver in terms of settling a strategy to curb CO2 emissions, and the next steps will be key in this process, Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), tells ShippingWatch at a conference in London on Wednesday.

I think that, when the time comes, everyone will know whether we've delivered or not. I don't have a crystal ball that tells me what it will look like, because that's a debate in and of itself"

Esben Poulsson, Chairman, International Chamber of Shipping

At the conference, the ICS focused on the CO2 issue and the efforts to settle a climate strategy for the sector. First person at the podium was IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim, who in his speech noted that the entire world will keep an eye on the shipping sector and expect that the IMO member states deliver on the CO2 reduction efforts.

In a subsequent panel debate, the topic was discussed by representatives from various parts of the sector, exchanging their views and expectations for how ambitious a strategy shipping will produce.

And Poulsson told ShippingWatch afterward that he is confident that the shipping industry will deliver.

How much do you think shipping will contribute in terms of CO2, and what kind of agreement would be possible to settle?

"I am positive and optimistic that this IMO road map in 2018 will be realized. That's the next step we need to take. It has to amount to something. It must result in something," he tells ShippingWatch.

Carriers are optimistic after new climate plan from the IMO

A seven-point plan was announced back in July, at the meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), aimed at achieving a CO2-neutral shipping sector.

This plan stated that the sector must adopt a preliminary climate plan at the next MEPC meeting in the spring. Before that, all the IMO member states and industry representatives will meet in two work groups, in October and in April next year, just prior to the MEPC meeting.

IMO is the proper forum

"There's an IMO meeting in October, and it's clear that it will be very, very important. And also the work ahead of the road map in 2018. As I said in my speech, and as Kitack Lim said, and which we all agree upon, is that we have to deliver, and I'm confident that we will deliver," Poulsson tells ShippingWatch.

And what will you deliver?

"Time will tell, but it's clear that it needs to be credible and ambitious."

What does that mean, that it must be credible and ambitious?

"I won't go into too much detail about that. I think that, when the time comes, everyone will know whether we've delivered or not. I don't have a crystal ball that tells me what it will look like, because that's a debate in and of itself. But the ICS board met yesterday (Tuesday, ed.) with Consultative Shipping Group, and we had a very constructive meeting. We don't agree on everything, but I think we fall in line in many aspects, and there's a willingness to work together and achieve a result, though I won't go into specifics," Poulsson tells ShippingWatch, adding:

"It's clear that the IMO is the right forum for this, as it's global. And if we fail at the IMO level, then of course there will be the threat of these regional regulations, and that makes it difficult. Regional regulations are detrimental to shipping, as shipping is as global as anything can be."

Poulsson declines to comment on ShippingWatch's story, published Wednesday, about a compromise proposed by the EU ministers to not include shipping in the Emissions Trading System, as the ICS Chairman at the time of the interview was not informed of the proposal.

English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch

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