A substantial reduction in CO2 emissions is possible

The IMO significantly reduces the CO2-emissions from newly-built vessels. Shipping accounts for a relatively small part of total CO2-emissions (2%), especially considering the vast quantity of goods carried daily by vessels. Shipping scores high marks with respect to energy efficiency, up to fifty times better than air freight transport.

Introduced at the initiative of several countries, including Belgium, new IMO regulation entered into force on 1 January 2013, to gradually improve the energy-efficiency of ships built after 2013. Accordingly a vessel of 20.000 tonnes ordered after 1 January 2015 shall need to be app. 10% more energy-efficient and vessels ordered after 2020 shall be required to be at least 20% more energy-efficient than present-day ships. This counts as a substantial achievement. Existing ships do not leave much room for improvement. Nevertheless we examine what the IMO can actually do to improve the energy-efficiency of the existing fleet.