“Relentless focus” needed to tackle emissions

Richard Ballantyne Richard Ballantyne: "Ports should remain the jurisdiction of nation states who know best how their ports can support the transition." Credit: BPA

The British Ports Association (BPA) has stressed the need for “a relentless focus” on long term measures to achieve zero-emission shipping as the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) meet to discuss key issues.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the BPA said the organisation is concerned that the focus is being shifted onto ports and unproven short-term measures that delay meaningful action.

On proposals focused on port actions to support IMO targets, he said the BPA was cautious about the "presumption towards state investment in specific technologies and infrastructure," especially with limited evidence of effectiveness in reducing emissions.

Mr Ballantyne stated: “Ports should remain the jurisdiction of nation states who know best how their ports can support the transition. The UK has an ambitious 30-year strategy to support this and overly-prescriptive proposals at the IMO are not helpful.”

On tackling climate change, he said: “At a global level, tackling air emissions in a meaningful, long term manner ultimately will require cleaner fuels and significant barriers remain to realising these goals.”

Slow steaming has a role to play, and has already helped bring down emissions, Mr Ballantyne stated, but mandatory slow steaming may have knock-on effects that have not been fully considered. For example, mandatory speed limits could make it more difficult for vessels and ports to plan calls, considering access to ports for certain vessels is often dependent on factors such as the weather and tides.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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