Shipping monitoring will contribute to CO2 targets

Shipping users will for the first time be granted access to transparent data that identifies the most efficient ships and practices. Photo: ©3dmax -

The newly adopted EU Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) regulation that requires ship operators to publicly report information on the environmental performance of ships is expected to contribute to a decrease in shipping sector CO2 emissions.

The regulation creates an EU-wide legal framework for collecting and publishing verified annual data on CO2 emissions from all large ships (over 5,000 gross tons) that use EU ports, irrespective of where the ships are registered.

The MRV Regulation requires the monitoring and reporting to be based on three metrics: the theoretical energy performance of the ship known as the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI); its real-world fuel consumption; and its energy efficiency, that is, the amount of fuel divided by the amount of cargo.

Shipping users will for the first time be granted access to transparent data that identifies the most efficient ships and practices. Until now this mainly existed in the form of the voluntary “Clean Shipping Index”.

The access of the public to fuel efficiency data for the shipping sector is expected to boost competition for the best ships and routes, which in turn will trigger market forces that will result in fuel savings. This regulation will thus contribute to meeting CO2 targets by cutting emissions from the shipping sector.  

However, an increase in transport demand by shipping will offset any gains in fuel efficiency improvements. In its latest greenhouse gas (GHG) study, the UN’s shipping body, the IMO, projects a 50 to 250 per cent rise in shipping emissions by 2050. Currently ships are responsible for over  three per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the IMO study on GHG emissions from ships, under a business-as-usual scenario, shipping could represent 10 per cent of global GHG emissions by 2050.

Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at Transport & Environment, said: “This law is expected to produce a virtuous circle of increased transparency, increased competition and greater fuel efficiency. But this is where our cheering stops. Given that the sector’s rapid growth is set to outstrip efficiency gains, only CO2 targets under the EU’s 2030 plan and Energy Union can deliver actual emissions cuts.”

The next opportunity for the EU to support a global CO2 target for the sector is at IMO’s environment committee (which among other things will debate a submission from the Marshall Islands) in May.

More information at:
More information on EU measures and strategy on fuel-efficient shipping.
International Maritime Organization, Reduction of GHG emissions from ships – Third IMO GHG Study 2014, (July 2014).
Transport and Environment press release of 28 April 2015

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