Environmental legislation often leads to major investments. Some shipowners have installed scrubbers (to wash the sulphur out of the exhaust) and others go even further, switching to gas as a fuel. What shipowners and companies need most is clarity about admissible emission levels (in the air and water) in international and territorial waters.
Only accurate information allows suitable decisionmaking.
Shipowners adhering to best practices, thereby anticipating on legislative developments, cannot operate in a climate of vague regulations. Restrictions are all too often imposed without having a thorough debate on technological developments. Is the technology mature enough to achieve the limits imposed ? Past evidence shows a lack of research on the negative economic impact of environmental legislation on our industry. This issue should be tackled at the source of legislation, i.e. the IMO. There, all aspects of environmental legislation – technical, operational, ecological, but also the economic impact on the shipping industry – should be studied thoroughly, before Europe turns said legislation into directives.