Shipowners urge IMO to back $5bn decarbonisation R&D fund

Kitack Lim
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, PHOTO CREDIT: IMO


Ahead of a crunch environmental committee meeting of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this week, eight international shipowner associations are calling on IMO member states to support the industry’s idea of a $5 billion R&D fund to aid the decarbonisation of maritime transport.

To be managed through a non-governmental International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), the fund would seek to help identify and develop new technologies needed to allow commercially viable zero-carbon ships to begin operations as early as in the 2030s.

The 10-year programme would be overseen by IMO and financed by the shipping industry through a required R&D contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel consumed.

The shipowner bodies making the joint proposal are Bimco, CLIA, ICS, Intercargo, Interferry, Intertanko, IPTA and the World Shipping Council – collectively representing some 90% of the world merchant fleet across all trades and sectors.

The co-sponsors emphasise that “for the proposal to work, the R&D contributions would need to be compulsory via an IMO regulation, to ensure that all shipping companies globally contribute, in a fair and equitable manner, and that the necessary funds will be generated to achieve the programme’s objectives.”

They further add that the shipping industry “is eager to work with governments to ensure that this initiative is implemented as soon as possible,” and therefore call on the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee to support the development of the IMRB concept.