The IMO 2020 port debate: part two

By Penny Thomas

In the second of a two-part series looking at how the shipping and port sectors can cooperate to meet stringent new emissions targets, IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven was joined by John Michael Radziwill, CEO of C Transport Maritime and GoodBulk to discuss the major issues.

The discussion took place ahead of Radziwill’s appearance as an expert panelist at the IAPH World Ports Conference 2020.

In [part one] of their discussion, Verhoeven emphasized the importance of effective inter-agency dialogue for effective fuel monitoring; the same philosophy applies to scrubbers. “Port authorities have a role as community managers to bring parties together and to ensure the dialogue takes place even if the port authority itself does not control the supply chain,” he underlines. “It’s all about information sharing.”

He notes, however, that enforcement of the 0.5% sulphur fuel cap is a government role, typically carried out by Port State Control. “Some ports who are very close to government may have that task or delegate it to the harbor master. But largely, enforcing regulations is a government responsibility.”

When 0.1% fuel was introduced into emission control areas (ECAs), fuel was monitored through the same structure and, despite huge concerns initially, there were no major enforcement issues. Verhoeven sees a similar scenario rolling out.

Radziwill also believes that it is a relatively straightforward situation, which should not be overcomplicated. “All it means is that as well as the owner checking the fuel is good, a government authority will also be checking that the fuel is complaint.”

Neither see any potential ‘upsides’ to cheating, with both saying it makes no business sense at all, as well as being morally, ethically, and environmentally irresponsible. “Some people will cheat – it always happens,” Radziwill acknowledged. “But for us, the environment comes first, then the bottom line for all our clients, which include myself.”

Slow steaming as an immediate solution to cut emissions and costs makes total sense to the CTM CEO. “I‘ve said this before and will keep saying it, for the short term, slow steaming is the best way forward,” he opined. “The most low-cost, practical, efficient, and environmentally considerate thing to do is to put a speed cap on the global fleet. I don’t understand the push back from the industry.”

Verhoeven sees a similar trend in shipping’s response to just-in-time arrivals, which could lend itself to slow steaming, and port call optimisation. These concepts have piqued the interest of shipping and ports alike, but data sharing between parties is a sticking point to its take-up. “There are benefits for shipping, safety, ports, and more,” Verhoeven asserted, which is in everyone’s interests. “This is low-hanging fruit in liner and tramp shipping, but we have seen pushback against port call optimisation and this doesn’t make sense.”

Taking a long-term perspective, Verhoeven is quick to point out that only new fuels can lead to decarbonisation of shipping and the 50% reduction required by 2050. “IAPH is encouraging its members to join the Global Maritime Forum’s Getting to Zero Coalition and facilitate the deployment of zero-emission ships on deepsea trades by providing safe bunkering facilities. It will be a huge task,” he said. “Transitional fuels like LNG do help even if they aren’t carbon neutral. Environmentalists don’t consider this to be the case, but LNG can form part of puzzle that brings things together. I wouldn’t be dismissive of any low carbon fuels.”

Radziwill calls out for shipping to retrofit engines to burn alternative fuels. “Anyone ordering a new ship should keep this in mind.” He wants ports to offer a variety of bunkering options: LNG, hydrogen, biofuels, and ammonia. “Keep fuel options and technical options open as much as you can,” the shipowner advised ports, including shoreside power.

Verhoeven is prudent about shoreside power as a general offering citing high costs, which in certain circumstances have led to stranded assets due to lack of take up from lines. Radziwill acknowledges the financial barriers. “All these ideas are wonderful but of course the costs must be taken into account as well. We work with what we have, maintaining environmental protection at the top of our agenda.

“That is why this this opportunity to slow steam is so important. The best things in life are simple and practical so we just need to use common sense to get there. You should keep an open mind to every solution even if it isn’t super sexy and that’s what we have done here,” he concluded.

John Michael Radziwill is a panelist at a special discussion on ‘IMO 2050: is the shipping industry on track to meet greenhouse gas targets’ at the World Ports Conference 2020 in March. He will be joined on the 18 March panel by an impressive list of supply chain thought leaders:

- Guy Platten – Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping

- Kasper Søgaard – Head of Research, Global Maritime Forum

- Katy Ware – Director of Maritime Safety and Standards & Permanent Representative of the UK to IMO, UK Government

Register now to ensure your attendance at 2020’s leading port conference.

This article was excerpted from the November/December 2019 issue of Ports & Harbors, the official journal of the International Association of Ports & Harbors. To learn more about subscribing, email