Despite several years of efforts to agree on common regulations governing CO2 emissions from ships, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has not yet managed to reach consensus. According to the Danish Shipowners' Association, progress on the issue is however expected during the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP15 in Copenhagen in December. Danish shipping considers tighter rules a competitive advantage, writes financial daily newspaper Børsen.
Deputy director of Danish Shipowners' Association Jan Fritz Hansen says: "We sense that there are international politics in the negotiations. Many of the countries do not want to reveal their negotiation position so close to the climate summit, so we consider it improbable to get further in the process at the present time."
Hansen hopes that heads of government will only outline some general reduction requirements to the industry during the negotiations in Copenhagen and let IMO determine the rules for how to meet the requirements.
"It is a highly complex area so it is crucial that the rules are prepared in a way that does not damage the industry's competitiveness or create unequal competition terms between the shipping companies," says Fritz Hansen.
He emphasises that the Danish Shipowners' Association is generally positive towards more regulation of the area. The Danish fleet is relatively new and a lot more energy efficient than the average global fleet, and it will only strengthen Danish shipping companies' competitiveness if the rules are tightened.
Danish shipping companies transport 10% of the world's trade, and account for 17-18% of all transport from China and 15% to and from the US. 80% of the shipping companies' revenues are generated outside Europe. The average age of the Danish merchant fleet is 7.1 years compared to the average age of 11.6 years for the world merchant fleet. In 2008, Danish shipping generated approx. DKK 200bn (USD 36.4bn) in foreign exchange earnings.