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Emissions reduction a matter of survival, says ICS

Emissions reduction a matter of survival, says ICS
The shipping industry’s focus on reducing CO2 emissions is a matter of survival, according to ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe.

Speaking at the Conference on Shipping in Changing Climates, hosted by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Hinchliffe highlighted the maritime industry's position as the only industry with a mandatory global CO2 reduction regime in place, through the IMO.

"We are therefore already on a pathway to deliver ships by 2030 that will be 30% more efficient than those of just a couple of years ago," said Hinchliffe.

"There is a clear mood to address supply chain efficiency at every stage. In particular, the enormous financial pressure of the global recession on freight rates, coupled with virtually year-on-year fuel increases – some 300% over 10 years – has meant that the quest for efficiency is much more than enlightened self-interest and really a means to survive to fight another day."

Hinchliffe restated ICS's stance on market based measures: that any measures should be necessary, enforced globally by IMO, should be focussed on reducing emissions, not generating revenue, and that the only acceptable market based measure it sees is a fuel levy.

Hinchliffe also took a longer view on shipping and climate, considering the industry's preparedness should extreme weather become more common, and the effects the changing climate might have near the coast.

"Currently ships are built to regulatory requirements upon a definition of North Atlantic winter conditions – these determine the strength of the ship, the thickness of steel, the spacing of strengthening beams and so on," said Mr Hinchliffe. "Will there come a time when the definition will have to be upgraded? If so how soon will that be, bearing in mind the 30 year design life of a ship?

"Very few port authorities are doing work to raise infrastructure – higher jetties, higher railway lines and roads – building with a 50-year timeframe in mind. But how many hydrographic offices are thinking about prioritising surveys to ensure that port approaches are surveyed ready for the requirement for new charts in 20 or 30 years' time – or is it needed sooner than that?" he asked.

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