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Experience from 2020 environmental regulations shapes future changes


With the Imo 2030 and 2050 targets for CO2 reduction, and rising fuel prices in the wake of the 2020 global sulphur cap, decarbonisation remains the hot topic as the clock ticks down on reducing carbon intensity in the shipping industry.
Implementation of Imo's 2020 cap has provided a future pathway for impending stricter environmental rules and other changes in international shipping, so the Digital Greener Shipping Summit, on April 13, provided the perfect avenue to assess the experience gained to date and examine how they may shape future changes especially what is required to comply with Imo 2030, which is looming large for shipowners.
Indeed, with maritime transport the backbone of international trade and global economy keeping the shipping engine of global trade running while meeting the United Nations sustainable development goals it soon became evident during the Greener Shipping Summit that the challenges are great despite the advances being made in technology in today’s world.
Organised by Newsfront / Naftiliaki under the auspices of Greece's powerful maritime technical body, the Greek Marine Technical Managers Association, MARTECMA, summit featured 19 presenters and panelists, all leaders in the battle to cut emissions and decarbonise shipping.
As Semiramis Paliou pointed out in her keynote address to the Summit that sustainability broadly consists of three key dimensions: the environmental, the economic, and the social.
Of the three, Paliou noted the shipping industry is presently mainly focusing on the environmental which is being widely addressed under the broad definition of decarbonisation, and as it moves in this direction “the shipping industry is faced with multiple hurdles” in meeting Imo requirements.
Paliou, the director and ceo of New York Stock Exchange-listed Diana Shipping Inc and president of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (Helmepa) said the industry feels decisions have been taken for it hastily, with a short timeline, research has not been adequately preformed, and that the “shipowner, once again, is required to bear the expenses involved” when all stakeholders including charterers shipyards, equipment makers and financial institutions
She noted there are concerns to be addressed like will new fuels introduce expensive ships, increased operating expenses, more complex systems, new manning skills and possible new hazards. She said it is paramount the path be treated with caution and collectively by all shipping stakeholders. “Collaboration across the shipping industry is the way to move forward,” she advocated.
She said the Covid – 19 pandemic showed the social dimension has still got a long way to go, though it reminded us all that collaboration, synergies, commitment and focus are key elements to overcome challenges and help find solutions.
Many lessons have been learned from the application of 2020 environmental regulations the summit was told though the industry’s first major milestone, the 2020 sulphur cap, was implemented more smoothly than expected, said Bill Stamatopoulos, of Bureau VeriFuel. Fotis Belexis, technical director of Star Bulk Carriers felt scrubbers generally met expectations, while BWT systems are continually being developed said Stelios Kyriacou of ERMA first ESK Engineering Solutions. Digitalisation continues to have a big impact on the way ships are being managed and this will bring changes in the general thinking of the industry, said RINA’s Alessandro Pescetto.
Much discussion took place on how EEXI [Energy Efficiency Existing Ships Index] and CII [Carbon Intensity Indicator] and it soon became apparent when it comes to the operation of ships the indexes are a Capex issue rather than a technical one.
When looking at EEXI and how it affects shipowners and a ship’s lifetime panelists agreed the EEXI is an index with the same logic as the EEDI [Energy Efficiency Design Index] but, as John Kokarakis, Bureau Veritas, pointed out the main problem is lack of data for pre-EEDI vessels especially regarding the power-speed curves at scantling draft.
Dimitrios Fafalios, Intercargo’s chairman spoke of the danger of a two-level market, noting fast bigger ships are sought by charterers for long-haul trades, while charterers not do really pay attention to weather conditions nor the time spent loading and unloading, which especially impacts small ships. Time charterers will have to manage the speed of vessels carefully to comply.
ABS’ Maria Kyratsoudi said minimum power is not before Imo, “nor will it be”. She said “there is no requirement as long as there is no danger to safety”, that this is something which ‘needs to be approached by companies”.
It was agreed compliance with EEXI has to be viewed in combination with CII and more importantly assessed in a life cycle assessment mode with consideration of well to wake emissions. There was optimism a second round of EEXI in 2026 will not be necessary given the lower speeds and the benefit of having fleet renewals as well as use of more eco-friendly alternative fuels.
Some categories of vessels like steam turbine-driven LNGs may be forced to operate at significantly lower speeds due to the inefficiency of the turbine. In case they do not have reliquefaction onboard then the surplus boil-off will be dumped and not used for propulsion or electricity generation.
When it comes to CII it was noted Imo and the EU must bring charterers into the battle against emissions.
Session moderator, Takis Koutris, md Roxana Shipping / Kristen Marine said Imo has a three-step approach to reducing GHG, the introduction of the carbon intensity, the vision and levels of ambition with highlight that balance for reaching the 2030 target is 10% for EEOI [Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator] and 21.5% for AER [Annual Efficiency Ratio].
Panos Zachariadis, technical director, Atlantic Bulk Carriers, wondered just how much CII will impact a company’s legal obligations.
On-line participant, George Xiradakis, head of XRTC Consultants, wondered if shipping companies and financial institutions will have to employ specialist researchers to help them keep abreast with the plethora of regulations through which shipping now has to navigate.

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