IMO GHG Strategy 2023: more ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reduction

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 80th session in London at the beginning of July 2023.

The agenda included the adoption of the revised IMO´s GHG Strategy, which strengthened the vision for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport by 2025.

The new greenhouse gas strategy is more in line with the Paris Agreement

The new strategy states that the target year for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is around 2050. It includes two mid-term checkpoints on the path to the initial target:

  • To reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20%, striving for 30%, by 2030, compared to 2008.
  • To reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 70%, striving for 80%, by 2040, compared to 2008.

The new strategy is more in line with the target of the Paris Agreement for limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

It also suggests many measures to reach the important statement of zero emissions – it still needs much work to figure out the best technological and regulatory ways for net-zero maritime traffic.

Improvements in fuel efficiency by technology or processes are important

The GHG strategy and other results of the committee session were discussed in the Post MEPC80 webinar, bringing out some practical examples about the plan towards net-zero.

For example, the “chicken and egg” situation of the new fuel options was mentioned, as both the shipping and the energy industry are waiting for some strong indications to choose the less risky technological investments.

The fact is that drop-in fuels are merely a start, so the new GHG strategy has a target of zero or near-zero fuels to represent 5 percent of the energy used in international shipping by 2023.

The expert panelists in the Post MEPC80 webinar pointed out that the time frame for commercialisation of zero GHG fuels is longer than the industry can wait for actions to be made. Hence, we need to use other measures to accelerate the change.

Improvements in fuel efficiency by technology or processes are important steps toward greenhouse gas targets.

Better fuel efficiency will reduce the costs of fuels in the future for their users. One of the panelists underlined the importance of speedy actions: “We’ve had our signal. Now we need to move.”

Ports play an important role in the quest for a sustainable future

Ports are an important hub for all parties in the maritime industry to collaborate in greenhouse gas reduction work. While ports can offer infrastructure to bunker zero fuels or produce renewable electricity, they also enable information change between the parties to improve efficiency within the marine transportation system.

For example, Just-In-Time arrival requires a smooth information change between the operators, shipping companies, and port authorities to verify the availability of resources and time slots.

The information must be up-to-date and easily available for all parties to ensure the most efficient port call process.

Ports worldwide are now starting – or have already begun – to implement digital tools and platforms to improve communication with different stakeholders.

GISGRO offers digital tools to share information and situational view on port processes.

During the work, it is important to remember that tools do not do the work alone but must be designed to fit the processes in the port and the hands of the users. User-friendliness is essential if we want digital tools to be part of our daily work.

How about your port?

Are you already improving the efficiency of the port´s processes to reduce greenhouse gases? Contact us to discuss how GISGRO – the most visual Port Information Management System – can help you achieve efficiency and sustainability goals.

Pia AsikainenPia Asikainen
HSEQ Manager
+358 50 568 886