New international climate regulation for ships

Published 18-11-2020

At the 75th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved new rules for how international shipping should reduce its CO2 emissions towards 2030.

The new regulation includes a set of important international tools and building blocks to reduce CO2 emissions from ships. Denmark would have preferred to see more ambitious requirements for ships with inferior performance and more clear requirements for effective enforcement. However, the result reflects an acceptable foundation for the future work on developing climate regulation for international shipping.

”The new international regulation will impose new requirements for reduction of ships’ CO2 emissions. With the approval of this regulation IMO sends an important signal that progress is made. Also, the approved outcome provides us with a basis on which to further build upon,” explains Andreas Nordseth, Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority.

Initially, Denmark, together with France and Germany, had submitted a proposal for more ambitious climate rules, proposing more stringent requirements for ships with inferior rating. Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain adequate support for this proposal during negotiations; however, the newly approved regulation represents an important step in the right direction. 

The new regulation will be added as new amendments to annex VI of the MARPOL convention and will enter into force from 2023. The regulation includes, among other things, the introduction of an energy efficiency rating system, going from A to E. Hereafter, it will be possible to gain insight into a ship’s CO2 performance, as also known from other products like cars, houses and home appliances. A global energy efficiency rating system should make it easier for industry, ports and other maritime stakeholders to reward the best performing ships. 

There is now a great amount of important work to be done on developing the supporting guidelines in order to secure that the regulation will be implemented accordingly and have the desired impacts. The most important parts of these guidelines is to be presented at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in June next year.


Danish Maritime Authority