The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has submitted plans to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) detailing urgent measures which it says governments must take to help the industry achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Just one month before the shipping industry’s flagship COP26 decarbonisation conference ‘Shaping the Future of Shipping’, ICS is pushing governments to double the ambition of the IMO’s current target, which is to reduce emissions from international shipping by 50 percent by 2050.

The plans include a compulsory research and development (R&D) fund to develop zero-carbon technologies, and the development of a carbon levy for shipping to expedite the transition to more expensive zero-carbon fuels.

A key step, the ICS said, is for governments to approve the establishment of the USD5 billion IMO Maritime Research Fund (IMRF) at a critical IMO meeting this November, just two weeks after COP 26. The funding will accelerate the development of zero emission ships, without requiring governments to use taxpayers’ money. This is because the IMRF will be funded by mandatory R&D contributions from shipowners globally, via a US2 levy, which the shipping industry wants in place by 2023. 

The proposal, available here, also includes plans for the sharing of intellectual property amongst industry innovators in zero carbon technologies, to accelerate the pace of change within shipping.

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, said: “This is a unique case of an industry demanding to be more tightly regulated on carbon emissions, and putting its hand up to do the grunt work of getting there. We are not trying to win headlines – we are trying to reach net zero.”