Owners could incur savings from vessel efficiency scheme.
SHIPOWNERS who apply technology and operational measures to improve vessel efficiency could benefit financially under new proposals being submitted to the International Maritime Organization.
The IMO"s marine environment protection committee is due to meet in eight weeks to discuss how a market based instrument could be developed to reduce the impact of shipping to global warming.
There are now three proposals on the table, with a Japanese addendum to the Danish concept of a bunker levy.
Papers seen by Lloyd"s List propose using the potentially mandatory design index already developed by the IMO to assess the amount of improvements an owner has made and the amount of money they should pay into a market based scheme, or the rebate they could get back.
Development of so-called MBI"s did not progress at the last MEPC meeting largely because member states were reluctant to discuss the issue prior to last December"s Copenhagen climate talks. Following an inconclusive result from Copenhagen many feel the IMO has a chance to retain its authority providing its members can find some level of agreement at the March meeting.
Progress towards developing a market based mechanism will be key to this success.
Until now there have been only two detailed submissions. A Danish bunker levy proposal and the cap and trade proposal submitted by the United Kingdom amongst others.
New proposals set to be submitted by the US and Japan propose variations on a vessel efficiency scheme which would use the energy design index to assess the amount a ship should have to pay into a fund, and one that uses either the same index, or the operational indicator, to assess the refund from the Danish levy proposal.
International Chamber of Shipping marine director Peter Hinchliffe has welcomed the proposals saying the industry needs an open debate on the issues if it is to find a way forward this year.
Many experts still fear that the debate at MEPC in March risks reflecting the indecision and lack of direction witnessed in Copenhagen.
While a great deal will depend on the attitude of member states in the wake of Copenhagen, optimists point out that there is now much more detail on the table about all three systems. If the IMO can avoid getting bogged down in the same political arguments that scuppered Copenhagen they believe a far more substantive debate on the subject could be possible.
?This could lead to a good foundation for a debate of the three different systems on the impact on the industry, on the conduct of world trade and the emissions of CO2,? said Mr Hinchliffe.
Japan"s proposal is to create a voluntary scheme using the design index or the operational index to measure improvements and therefore the amount of rebate an owner should get after paying the bunker levy according to the current Danish proposal.
?Our system is a dual incentive, one encourages owners to build more efficient ships that are based on the energy efficiency design index -the EEDI, and the second is to use and operate the ships wisely,? said Japan"s international regulations director Shinichiro Otsubo.
Ships will voluntarily measure their performance and, depending on an increase in efficiency over time, would be awarded a rebate with an independent check on its performance.
The US is also developing a system to use the energy efficiency design index as a method to induce owners to make improvements, although its want to use the EEDI on existing tonnage rather than newbuildings.
The World Shipping Council has submitted papers to the IMO saying it wants to see a system developed that is similar to ones used in other transport industries. It wants to see the creation of a vessel efficiency system where the EEDI is used to assess the amount a vessel must pay directly into the fund.
WSC president and chief executive Christopher Koch believes the use of the operational index is too complex to be used to create a mandatory instrument as many of the measures depend on external factors such as wind speed and sea state.