IMO Announces Release of The Ship-Port Interface Guide to Reduce GHG Emissions

 In March, the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) announced the release of the Ship-Port Interface Guide (the “Guide”)1 for the purpose of reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (“GHG”).   The Guide was developed by the Global Industry Alliance2 to Support Low Carbon Shipping pursuant to the IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2020 project, 3   the Paris Agreement,4 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.5 The Guide contains practical steps to be implemented for the overarching purpose of reducing GHG in the world shipping industry. A number of commercial shipping interests, including the cruise industry, have collectively endeavored to reduce GHG for the shipping industry. To that end, the Global Industry Alliance considered that the average lifetime of a commercial ship is approximately 25 years.

            The practical solutions set forth in the Guide require smaller capital investments and operational costs to implement the  protocols.  Additionally, the steps established within the Guide are easily established and conducted in shipping operations.  Finally  the   Measures contained within the Guide are projected to sharply curtain GHG emissions over time.              . 

            The Guide contains 8 Measures that are easily implemented. The Measures are as follows:

  • Measure 1:  Facilitate Immobilization in Ports. This Measure is designed to reduce vessel time in ports. The Measure recommends that work and repairs to the main engine proceed simultaneously with cargo loading and unloading operations.
  • Measure 2:  Facilitate Hull and Propeller Cleaning in Ports.  Similar to Measure 1, this protocol also recommends that hull and propeller cleaning transpire at the same time as cargo loading and offloading. Although many ports do not allow cleaning of a vessel hull in port to prevent the transmission of invasive species, the Guide suggests following the BIMCO6 protocol if possible.
  • Measure 3:    Facilitate Simultaneous Operations (simops) in Ports.  The simultaneous operations of cargo loading and offloading, bunkering, cleaning of tanks, and replenishing ship stores and other provisions would minimize the time spent in port and reduce the corresponding GHG emissions.
  • Measure 4:     Optimize Port Stay by Pre-Clearance.  This Measure is intended to eliminate waiting time for clearance into a port. Ideally, pre-clearance could be arranged for port customs, port health requirements, and immigration authorities as well as cargo, crew, and passenger clearance in accord with the FAL Convention.7
  • Measure 5:     Improve Planning of Ships Calling at Multiple Berths in One Port.  This Measure recommends strategic organization to minimize the times that a ship is in port.
  • Measure 6:     Improve Ship/Berth Compatibility Through Improved Port Master Data.  Measure 6 recommends obtaining data about the size restrictions of ports and berths by AIS (Automated Information System) prior to seeking clearance.  The AIS is mandatory under SOLAS8 and certainly could provide ships with valuable information about ports. 
  • Measure 7:     Enable Ship Deadweight Optimization Through Improved Port Master Data.   The Guide recommends improving Port Master Data for tides, water depth and water density to improve deadweight capability.   The Measure recommends that information concerning the deep water route, fairway, berth pocket and harbor basin should be obtained prior to entry to the port.
  • Measure 8:   Optimize Speed Between Ports.  The Guide recommends arriving promptly when berthing facilities are available to minimize time spent waiting at a port.


1 https://wwwcdn.imo.org/localresources/en/MediaCentre/Documents/Ship-Port%20Interface%20Guide.pdf.

2 https://glomeep.imo.org/global-industry-alliance/global-industry-alliance-gia/.

3 https://greenvoyage2050.imo.org/.

4 https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf

5 https://wwwcdn.imo.org/localresources/en/MediaCentre/Documents/Ship-Port%20Interface%20Guide.pdf.;
https://www.un.org/pga/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/08/120815_outcome-document-of-Summit-for-adoption-of-the-post-2015-development-agenda.pdf

6 https://www.bimco.org/news/priority-news/20210402-shipping-industry-takes-new-step-to-protect-marine-environments.

7 https://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Facilitation/Pages/FALConvention-Default.aspx.

8 https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/AIS/AIS_Regs_SOLAS_MTSA_2015.pdf.  The U.S. has implemented the AIS requirement from SOLAS in 46 U.S.C §70114.

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