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September 2 2019

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September 2 2019 | The Journal of Commerce 15 www.joc.com International Maritime emissions within the fossil fleet from Jan. 1, 2020, under the IMO's low-sul- fur fuel mandate. Costly switch The requirement for global ship- ping to cap the sulfur content of its fuel from the current 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent is proving to be a massive undertaking. Carriers estimate using the more expensive fuel will add $10 billion to $15 billion annually to the industry fuel bill, and while much of that will be passed on to shippers, there are also the costs of cleaning tanks, securing supplies in key ports, and fitting scrubbers on vessels that will continue to burn high-sulfur oil. But as disruptive as the IMO 2020 mandate might be — not to mention the IMO 2050 target of halving THE WORLD SHIPPING (WSC) is proposing the setting up of an international research board under the International Maritime Orga- nization (IMO) that will direct and fund research and demonstration projects related to the development of next-generation marine fuels. The burning of cleaner, low-car- bon fossil fuels will help reduce the container shipping industry's environmental impact in the short term, but they will not be enough to reach the IMO's long-term target of zero global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to WSC Pres- ident and CEO John Butler. WSC's members control roughly 90 percent of global container ship capacity. The goal of the proposed research group will be to figure out which non-fossil fuels are the most commer- cially and economically viable and to help determine a pathway toward the widespread implementation of those fuels of the future. Butler's comments offer a sobering glimpse of what lies ahead for the con- tainer shipping industry as carriers are consumed with preparations to reduce carbon emissions from 2008 levels — Butler noted the ultimate goal of the IMO is to eliminate GHG emissions from the shipping sector. "The goals set by the IMO are pretty ambitious already, including 50 percent absolute reduction by 2050, even as cargo continues to grow," he told The Journal of Com- merce. "But the resolution goes on to talk about phasing out fossil fuels and eliminating GHG emissions as early as possible. "We have had tremendous gains over the last few years, but the fact of the matter is that as long as you are burning fossil fuels, you are gener- ating GHG, and to get to a more am- bitious reduction level, the industry will have to switch to an alternative other than fossil fuel." Beyond recognition Butler, who will deliver a keynote presentation at JOC Container Trade Europe conference in Hamburg on Sept. 18, said that while there is an understanding among industry stake- holders of the need for an alternative fuel. The problem is that a multitude of ideas and possibilities are being raised about what the future fuel base may look like. To determine what is actually possible will require signifi- cant engineering and research. Butler said he expected to have a comprehensive proposal for the research and development group in time for the IMO's Marine Environ- ment Protection Committee (MEPC) 75 meeting in March 2020. "It is an important piece of the puzzle because a lot of the short-term measures being discussed at the IMO are necessarily aimed at how to reduce GHG further within the con- text of a fossil fuel fleet," he said. "But there is only so much addi- tional GHG that we can wring out of that model, so the discussion will con- tinue on how to implement short- and medium-term measures," Butler said. "We have seen an increasing recogni- tion that R&D [research and develop- ment] is going to be critical in solving this problem, and that is encouraging. We are now trying to take that recog- nition further and lay out a pathway on how to make it happen." JOC email: greg.knowler@ihsmarkit.com twitter: @greg_knowler Importing & Exporting | Ports | Carriers | Breakbulk | Global Logistics Fueling innovation Major container lines to study zero-emission bunker fuels By Greg Knowler "If you are burning fossil fuels, you are generating greenhouse gases." The proposed WSC working group aims to identify the most viable non-fossil marine fuel and a pathway to widespread implementation. Shutterstock.com

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