he world’s governments have agreed to give further consideration to the detail of the concept of an IMO-supervised, industry financed, USD 5 billion programme, to be conducted by a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), to accelerate the introduction of zero-emission technologies for maritime transport. Governments have also raised a number of legitimate issues which the IMO will need to carefully address.
Governments attending the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) contributed constructive input on the industry’s proposal to establish the IMRB. This included important questions about governance and IMO oversight, the need to take account of the economic impact on states of the proposed mandatory R&D contribution of USD 2 per tonne of marine fuel, and the need to address the interests of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Industry is eager to work with governments to ensure that this initiative is implemented as soon as possible, aiming for the IMRB to be operational by 2023. Every advance in technological certainty increases investment certainty, reducing the future cost of the transition to zero-carbon fuels and technologies, and accelerating the pace at which that transition can occur. With USD 5 billion in core funding over a 10-year period, generated from industry contributions, the IMRB will create the technological and investment certainty to spur innovators, engineers, energy companies, shipyards, financial institutions, and engine manufacturers to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonise shipping.
The IMO 2050 climate targets can only be achieved with the immediate acceleration of zero-carbon fuels and technologies. The IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to build a zero-carbon shipping industry, and the necessary funding can only be provided within the global regulatory framework of IMO.
The industry recognises the unprecedented nature of its proposal and the associated complexities, and will work to address this so that governments can take forward its offer of USD 5 billion of funding to accelerate R&D, to ensure the technological innovation necessary to make the required zero-carbon transition within the IMO 2050 time line.