Two engineers, yellow overalls and hard hats
Two engineers, yellow overalls and hard hats

Are you prepared for the new shipping environmental regulations?

As cost pressures dominate corporate agendas, many ship operators have come to realise that in the increasingly regulated shipping industry they must do more to achieve a sustainable future. Just focusing on operational costs is no longer enough.

The enforcement of ever stricter regulations, for instance, requires ship operators to up their game to ensure they comply with the many regulations that will come into force in the coming months and years.

The good news is, with a long-term, holistic approach and the use of green technologies it may be possible to save money and conserve the environment at the same time, according to Dr Erik Risberg, Global Marketing Director at Jotun Marine Coatings. But he warns not all owners and operators will welcome the new requirements as they are already working to comply with existing requirements, while under pressure to cut operational costs.

“Some of the world’s leading charterers have adopted far-reaching strategies that demand that their sub-contractors have adequate environmental policies and practices ensuring a certain minimum efficiency of vessels in their fleet. The charterers, including the oil majors, consider optimal environmental compliance a must and not an optional in today’s sustainability-focused world.

Tougher charter market

Faced with years of shipping over-capacity, no one yet knows the scale of likely delays and cancellations. Some newbuilds will go into long-term contracts, but many are going into lay-up or operating in the spot market. What is certain, however, is that many owners and operators face a much tougher charter market with charterers looking for tonnage at the best prices and optimal energy efficiency levels – and also meeting the accumulating environmental legislation and regulations.

“International authorities are pushing for higher standards in environmental performance and global emission reductions. It is generally accepted that international regulations is the best solution,” explains Risberg. “Many national organisations are pushing for this, in cooperation with their governments and international authorities.

Many new international regulations

“It is however a huge task for owners and operators to keep up with local, regional and international developments. With many international regulations coming through, the debate often revolves around how these can be addressed and implemented,” adds Risberg. Just a quick look at the main image will give readers an idea of the significant number of rules and regulations faced by operators to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases.

Speaking at the recent EC Technology Forum in Berlin, Risberg summarised some key initiatives taken by international authorities.
SECA (Sulphur Emission Control Areas) expanding Global SOX cap reduced to 0.5% m/m in 2020 Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention enter into force September 8th 2017 EU MRV (Monitoring, Reporting & Verification) comes into force January 1st 2018 IMO fuel consumption data collection system comes into force January 1st 2019 Stricter EEDI requirements by 2020 and 2025, respectively VOC regulations in Korea and China to impact new building business EU-BPR approved 10 biocides for use in antifoulings until re-approval in 2026

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Timeline of environmental regulations

“The compliance of the BWM convention is certainly being debated, as is the reduction of CO2, NOX and SOX shipping emissions following the IMO decision at the MEPC 70 meeting,” Risberg pointed out. He also highlighted that, along with the new data collection system, IMO has also agreed to maintain the implementation of the 0,5% global Sulphur cap by 1 January 2020.

“It is always difficult to align the interests of stakeholders towards new regulations and that’s a challenge in bringing about a greener shipping industry. International environmental regulations that apply to all players in the industry are crucial when it comes to making important changes happen,” added Risberg.

Innovation key

While supporting international regulations to regulate pollutants, Risberg believes they should not interfere in the practical solutions. “Innovation is best stimulated by not dictating how the regulations’ demands should be met. Also, there should be financial incentives in place for going green,” argues Risberg.

Some may argue that, in this period of austerity, it is the wrong time to be investing in new green technologies. But as Risberg points out “there will always be owners and operators with different views and not all will agree that it is wise to make green investments in these challenging times. That said, it is safe to say that complying with the new regulations will not be an option. It is an absolute necessity and the serious, long-term players will most likely take a holistic approach to save costs – and the environment.

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