It is currently in talks with shipowners on the system’s feasibility
The failed Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) summit did not deter the country from doing its part to address the climate crisis. Panama Canal Administrator Dr Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, recently announced that the republic is going to implement a new “Green Vessel Classification” system, which will include a new “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fee”.
Stepping up carbon reduction efforts
The Canal initially encouraged green shipping through a point and ranking system, enabling cleaner vessels to progress up the canal’s performance charts. This new tariff system would accelerate the country’s green shipping efforts by imposing a small financial penalty for operators of higher greenhouse gas emitting vessels.
“The urgency to take action is glaring, and the industry must take an accelerated approach to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. This fee reflects the Canal’s acknowledgment of the environmental impacts of shipping, including that from the rest of the industry paving the way to minimise emissions. The fee will support investments to guarantee environmental performance standards and aid in making Canal operations carbon neutral,” the authority announced in its statement.
The Canal’s new scheme will classify all ships over 125ft long using an energy efficiency ranking. It will incorporate three factors: the ship’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) score, operational efficiency measures during transit, such as the use of bow thrusters, and the use of zero-carbon or carbon-neutral fuels. According to the authority, these factors could reduce emissions during a canal transit by 20-100 per cent. It is said to be in talks with shipowners about how the new system would operate in practice. The Canal is also planning to buy 10 hybrid-powered tugs for a 20 per cent emissions savings on towing operations, and invest in a fleet of electric vehicles plus consolidate its facilities, which would result in a 33 per cent savings.
Panama was one of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) member states supporting the International Chamber of Shipping’s proposal for a US$2 per tonne global bunker fee at MEPC. Though the measure was unsuccessful, the canal would still be able to implement its own unique carbon fee for a large fraction of global shipping while it waits for IMO to discuss decarbonisation.
Marine Online News Team
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