On the 30th of April, the chief executives of 107 shipping companies signed an open letter to IMO Member States in support of the proposal to slow down ships to cut carbon emissions. A 12% reduction in at-sea average speed, known as “slow steaming,” can lead to an average reduction of 27% in daily fuel consumption and thus fewer greenhouse-gas emissions, as it did when cargo ships slowed down after the 2008 financial crisis.

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee will meet later this month in London to start working on the details of regulations. To put the shipping industry on the track to cut emissions in a noteworthy way, it would need to be adopted in 2020. Furthermore, to meet its 2050 climate goals the IMO will have to find ways of encouraging the use of low-carbon fuels, like natural gas, or zero-carbon options like hydrogen.

Moreover, this won’t have a significant impact on trade as a study by the consultancy CE Delft illustrated.

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