New shipping regulation to combat global warming is under fire

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has issued their rules for the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), which is intended to combat global warming by reducing carbon emissions. It’s been years in the making.

But some of those affected by the regulation think there are flaws in the index which can produce some unintended consequences.

We know that many ships are chartered– they are operated by firms or people who are not their owners. Charter contracts determine how the ship will be operated and how the ship owner will be paid for allowing the use of his ship. But the contracts may allow the charterer to operate the ship in a way that reduces the CII score and causes the ship to fall into a lower class. Perhaps the ship falls into Class E which says the ship should be withdrawn from commerce– sentenced to the shipbreaker.

The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), a non-governmental group that offers clauses for contracts addressing numerous international shipping issues, has prepared a contract clause for chartering contracts. This is a useful starting point, because BIMCO contracts and clauses are often used as a starting point for making a charter contract. Use of the BIMCO contracts or clauses is totally voluntary.

The article below explains some of the issues that can arise between charterers and owners, with equations to boot. The essence of the problem is that the index is based on ship capacity, not cargo carried. So sailing empty miles improves your score on the index two ways– first because sailing light burns less fuel, and second because the miles add to the denominator of the measure, reducing it. The examples given show the effect.

Many feel the index should be based on carrying cargo. And some believe the BIMCO clause will not be workable in contracts, and will not use it. But the problem remains of how to divide responsibility between ship owner and charterer for managing the CII score.

I tend to believe any rule is better than nothing. And I think charterers and shipowners will work out how to manage the contract problem. As for empty sailing or sitting in port, I don’t think anyone wants to sail without a paying cargo, or suffer delays even to improve the index. So everyone, owners and charterers, will continue to fill their ships when they can, and sail shorter routes when they can, simply because it’s expensive to operate the ship you’ve chartered; you have to earn a profit at it.

For all the complaining, the CII is still a good thing. We will have to see if it can be tweaked to everyone’s satisfaction.

Greg Miller·Wednesday, December 21, 2022

New shipping regulation to combat global warming is under fire

One response to “New shipping regulation to combat global warming is under fire

  1. Pingback: New shipping regulation to combat global warming is under fire

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