The Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) has supported the European Commission’s (EC) proposals to set up a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system in order to reduce carbon emissions (CO2) from the maritime sector.

GSF said maritime emissions currently account for about 2.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions and may increase by 150% to 200% between 2007 and 2050.

The EC said that from 2018 it will legislate for a MRV system for large ships of more than 5,000 gross tonnes that use EU ports irrespective of where the ships are registered.

As per the new system, ship owners will be required to monitor and report the verified amount of CO2 emitted annually by their ships on voyages to, from and between EU ports.

GSF said the proposal offers flexibility for ship owners to record and report emissions by focusing on fuel consumption through methods such as the use of bunker fuel delivery notes or bunker fuel tank monitoring.

GSF secretary general Chris Welsh said achieving global agreement on precisely how to tackle climate change within the maritime sector has been slow and difficult.

"There are many competing views; however, shippers are looking for a substantive breakthrough. Shippers are increasingly demanding verifiable greenhouse gas data from ocean carriers so that they in turn can accurately benchmark the carbon footprint of their supply chains," Welsh said.

"We hope the Commission’s initiative will push the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to promptly accomplish what it set out to achieve – a global agreement on reducing ghg emissions in the global maritime industry."

GSF, however, said that the EC initiative will provide much needed testing and time for the IMO to reach agreement on global measures and potentially evidence of a scheme that works.

Welch said the global shipping industry needs a uniform set of international regulations that should be created by the IMO to reduce emissions.

"It is vital that any eventual MBM will succeed in making the emission reductions required and not simply add additional cost to ship owners and ultimately shippers."

The European Parliament and Council are currently examining the MRV proposal, which needs their approval to become law.