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Port Report: Slow ship speeds pick up steam at this week’s IMO meeting
Team Sea and Coast | 16/05/2019

Among the topics to be taken up by this week’s meeting of ocean shipping’s international regulator will be how the industry can lower its carbon dioxide output. One increasingly talked-about method is reducing ship speeds. Lower speeds reduce a ship’s overall fuel use, thereby reducing its carbon dioxide output. Container lines have not welcomed the idea due to the need to add more ships to meet the same schedules. But Drewry Shipping Consultants said slower speeds may have some benefits for the industry, but only up to a certain point.

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) meeting in London will look at a proposal, first suggested by representatives from France, to reduce ship speeds. The goal is to cut shipping’s carbon output 40 percent by 2030.

The plan has since gained steam with environmental groups and some shipping companies. A group of 120 shipping companies signed a letter supporting a limit on maximum ship speeds. It noted the slowdown of the global fleet’s 2008 economic crash “led to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”