A new report from The Sea Cargo Charter (SCC) revealed the sector fell short of the minimum international climate goals set by the IMO by an average of 17% in 2023, equivalent to 165m metric tonnes of CO2e. Taking into account the ‘striving’ goals set by the IMO, SCC signatories were on average 22% misaligned, a shortfall of 204m metric tonnes of CO2e.

The global framework, launched in 2020 to measure shipping emissions against decarbonisation benchmarks, said urgent action is required as its new data shows the shipping industry fell behind both targets.

A total of 35 companies (93%), accounting for around 20% of total dry and wet cargo transported by sea in 2023, disclosed the climate alignment of their chartering activities over the last year against the latest IMO ambition.

While some signatories show alignment with both the minimum and the striving trajectories, it comes as no surprise that a majority of signatories are misaligned with both trajectories, the SCC said.
The average climate alignment scores are 16.9% for the minimum and 21.9% for the striving trajectory, with scores ranging from -16.5% to 47.6% (minimum) and -14.8% to 54.7% (striving).

For the first time this year, the SCC signatories reported against much stricter criteria, including the IMO’s revised GHG Strategy, introduced in July 2023, and the report noted that there has been a decrease in the alignment of signatories’ activities due to the more ambitious targets.

Reporting has also been expanded to include well-to-wake emissions, which measure emissions from the extraction of oil to its end use, providing a more comprehensive picture of environmental impact.
Throughout 2023, nine signatories had a climate alignment score that was less than 10% misaligned with the IMO’s new minimum trajectory. Six signatories were less than 10% misaligned with the striving targets. Two signatories’ activities were aligned with both trajectories in 2023.

The third SCC’s annual disclosure report said the highlighting factors that influenced these scores included the challenges of adapting to longer journey times following geopolitical disruptions, changing operational parameters in ports, commercial choices such as energy-saving retrofit programs, instructed speed, laden/ballast ratio, and dwt utilisation on laden voyages.

From next year, shipowners – not just charterers – will be fully able to form part of the annual report for the first time.

“Increased transparency, collaboration between charterers and shipowners, and alignment with the IMO’s revised strategy are all positive steps in the right direction. The shipping industry has a long way to go, but with continued transparency, commitment, and innovation, it can navigate a more sustainable future,” the SCC said in a release.

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