by Frederike Berg
Decarbonisation in the maritime industry - new regulations for CO2 reduction
Climate change and how we can counteract it is undoubtedly one of the most discussed topics worldwide. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 plays a major role in this context. With the Paris Agreement, 195 nations clearly set themselves the goal of preventing a temperature increase that exceeds the global average temperature by more than 2 °C compared to the pre-industrial era. To achieve this, the global economy must release significantly less carbon in the short term - in other words, it must decarbonise.
In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the industry is now facing far-reaching changes. This also affects Scafom-rux customers, for example in the maritime industry. Here, the year 2023 is marked by decarbonisation. This is because the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new carbon regulations have been in force since 1st January 2023. Read more about what's behind them here.
The maritime industry accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions
The maritime industry is one of the most important pillars of the global economy. Every day, thousands of ships cross the oceans, transporting around 90 per cent of all goods to their destination. And the industry is growing steadily. After all, shipping is considered the most energy-efficient means of goods transport, as enormous quantities of trade goods can be brought to their destination with just one ship.
What contributes significantly to the fact that we live in a globalised and highly interconnected world today also comes at a price: although transport by ship is comparatively energy-efficient, it is responsible for about 3 percent of global human-made emissions. To put this in perspective, if the maritime industry was a country, there would only be five countries that release more greenhouse gases each year.
The reason for these comparatively high CO2 emissions in the maritime industry is the heavy fuel oils with which the ships are largely operated. These contain significantly more sulphur and other pollutants than fuels used on land, for example.
If the maritime industry was to continue growing as it is now, experts expect it to cause a further increase in harmful greenhouse gases of 50 to 250 percent. And this would miss the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius by 2100.
50 % less greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime industry by 2050
In order to counteract the pollution caused by the maritime industry and thus achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the IMO adopted a climate strategy in 2018. According to this strategy, the annual emissions caused by shipping are to be reduced by 40 % by 2030 and even at least halved by 2050.
Industry representatives are even calling for international shipping to become climate-neutral by 2050. In response, the IMO's climate strategy is expected to be revised this year.
With its climate strategy for the maritime industry, the IMO is setting quite ambitious goals. These are to be achieved through a rapid switch to clean fuels, measures to increase energy efficiency and reduced engine power. The development of alternative fuels such as green ammonia or methanol is seen as the key to zero emissions.
New IMO measures to reduce pollutants from 1 January 2023
New IMO CO2 regulations have been in force since 1st January 2023. The focus is on three measures to implement the goal of the IMO Initial GHG Strategy to reduce the CO2 intensity of the maritime industry by 40 per cent. According to the new IMO 2023 regulations, all ships must
- calculate their Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI). EEXI determines the energy efficiency of existing ships based on their energy consumption data and other key figures such as speed, power and engine size. Newly built ships were already required to calculate the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
- calculate their annually achieved operational Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) for the calendar year. CII combines a ship's CO2 emissions with the amount of cargo carried in order to rank and rate efficiency. From now on, each ship will receive a grade from A (good) to E (bad).
- carry an approved enhanced Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) on board. This document shows how the energy efficiency of a ship is to be improved.
The new IMO 2023 regulations will significantly change the modern maritime industry. Stay tuned for our next blog article to read about the challenges faced industry and how they can be solved.
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