Decarbonisation is an issue that calls for urgent action: increased efficiency, technological innovation, access to finance and clear regulations are topics that can only be tackled through a dedicated platform. In 2016 the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association (RBSA) took the initiative to set up this platform where all stakeholders involved can orient around steps in the decarbonisation pathway. We called it the Maritime Industry Decarbonisation Council (MIDC).
The vision of MIDC
The vision of the MIDC is to bridge the gap between shipowners, charterers, shippers, engine makers, ship builders, fuel producers, the research community, banks and classification societies to ensure the development of an evidence-based policy on GHGs that will enable the sector to reduce its GHG emissions in the most cost-effective way.
MIDC orients around steps in the decarbonisation pathway, looking into technical measures that can be taken in the short term and future measures that will require more intense thought and preparation. Since technical and operational measures only will not lead to a decarbonized world any new development regarding low carbon fuels is an intrinsic part of the evaluations within the think-tank.
“The think-tank is a-political, commercialy independent and most importantly evidence-led”
The MIDC is bringing more structure in the debate on short-medium-long term technical measures. Several promising measures have already been assessed according to the CO2 reduction potential, Cost, Technical maturity, Scalability.
Key elements of MIDC
We look at the options for existing ships and new builds? Key is to find out what we can actually do for the current fleet? For new builds anything is possible (at a cost) but there are clear limitations with regards to the GHG reduction potential of existing ships. How much can we further improve the energy efficiency of the existing fleet is the key question that needs to be adressed as soon as possible. In recent years shipowners have already invested a lot in measures to improve the energy-efficiecy of ships, mostly through operational measures such as slow steaming and technical measures. Those measures have already significantly reduced GHG emissions many vessels by approximately 30% compared to the 2008 levels. Gradually alternative fuels are also being used and tested, mostly on an individual basis.
No doubt this is a positive development, although the shipping industry can do so much better. To reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of shipping and achieve a further reduction of emission levels, more investments will be needed.