ICS: Global eco rules needed, not ones that change from place to place

2012 03 23

ENVIRONMENTAL regulations should be uniform and global and not products of individual countries, trading blocs and provincial jurisdictions each trying to out-green each other, says International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) chairman Spyros Polemis.

Speaking to the Maritime Association's Shipping 2012 conference in Connecticut, Mr Polemis said local rules are 100 times more stringent than what has been agreed on by the UN's International Maritime Organisation.

"Many governments now see MBMs [market based measures] as a means of raising money from shipping as an end in itself - a tax on trade seen as green protectionism. This is inequitable," he said.

It was unfair to view the shipping industry as a "cash cow" levied on a local basis the problem is global involving a vessel flagged in one country, owned in another with cargo bound for still others.

Mr Polemis said he was committed to the decision made by the IMO agreement three years ago for regulatory change of sulphur (SO2) emissions, but says carriers must be able to get its hands on distillate by 2015.

The introduction of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) standards already implemented in Europe, the Baltic and the North Sea is to be run along the west and east coasts of the United States in which ships will be required to burn fuel with a sulphur content of one per cent this year, and just 0.1 per cent in 2015.

"It is still unclear whether enough low sulphur fuel will be available for the US shipping industry, let alone the huge amount of international shipping that trades in and out of the US," he said.

If the oil refining industry is unable to produce enough and the costs of fuel increase it could risk an intermodal shift to roads counteracting any environmental benefits, said Mr Polemis.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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