ISWG-GHG 12 Plans Mid-Term Emissions Reduction Proposals

At the recent 12th session of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 12), the Group committed to developing a ‘basket of candidate mid-term measures’ and finalized guidelines to support incoming carbon intensity measures.

Mid-Term Measures: Proposals

In line with Phase 1 of the IMO’s Work Plan (MEPC 76/15/Add. 2 Annex 14), the ISWG-GHG 12 considered a series of ‘concrete proposals’ designed to deliver mid and long-term emissions reductions within the shipping industry. As the sector moves closer to its net-zero goal, longer-term objectives are needed, in addition to short-term solutions, such as the CII and EEXI, to facilitate the decarbonization of the industry and truly sustainable shipping. 

A variety of technical and market-based proposals, along with their respective impact assessments, were discussed by the ISWG-GHG 12, including:

  • Low GHG fuel standard
  • Carbon levy
  • Enhancement of carbon intensity measures
  • Emissions cap-and-trade system (ECTS)
  • Establishment of an International Maritime Research and Development Board 
  • Launch of an IMO Maritime Research Fund
  • Creation of an International Maritime Sustainability Funding and Reward (IMSF&R) mechanism

While the initial proposals require additional assessment before adoption decisions can be made, shipowners and operators can be in no doubt that incoming mid and long-term measures will increase environmental constraints and accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping industry. As such, shipping companies will need to incorporate this into their decision-making now and in the future to ensure their fleet can comply with tighter environmental regulations.


Following the ISWG-GHG 12, the Working Group will continue to assess the viability and impact of the proposals, focusing predominantly on their:

  1. a) feasibility 
  2. b) effectiveness to deliver long-term levels of ambition, and, 
  3. c) potential impact on States
Guidelines to Support Incoming Carbon Intensity Measures

In a bid to deliver short-term emissions reductions, the IMO introduced the EEXI, CII and SEEMP. To provide further clarity on the application of these measures, the ISWG-GHG 12 finalized updated guidelines, which it will put forward at the upcoming Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 78) meeting in June 2022. These guidelines include, but are not limited to:

  • 2022 Guidelines for the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP)
  • 2022 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI)
  • 2022 Guidelines on survey and certification of the attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI)
  • Guidance on methods, procedures and verification of in-service performance measurements for EEXI calculation
  • 2022 Guidelines for Administration verification of ship fuel oil consumption data and operational carbon intensity
  • Guidance for the submission of data to the IMO data collection system from a State not Party to MARPOL Annex VI
  • 2022 Guidelines on Operational Carbon Intensity Indicators and the Calculation Methods (CII Guidelines, G1)
  • 2022 Guidelines on the Reference Lines for use with Operation Carbon Intensity Indicators (CII Reference Lines Guidelines, G2)

Amidst significant changes to environmental regulations within the industry, the clarification offered by these new guidelines will be welcomed by shipowners, operators and charterers. With deadlines quickly approaching, companies throughout the shipping industry are eagerly awaiting confirmation of many issues regarding the implementation and application of the short-term emissions reductions measures and it is hoped the latest guidelines produced by the ISWG-GHG 12, once approved by MEPC 78, will deliver the requisite certainty. 

When Will Mid-Term Measures Be Introduced?

During the ISWG-GHG 12, the Working Group established the next steps to transition to Phase 2 of the Work Plan (assessment and selection of measure(s) to develop further). The upcoming 78th Session of MEPC may supplement these plans with additional initiatives, before they are moved to Phase 3 (development of (a) measure(s) to be finalized). It is evident, therefore, that mid and long-term measures won’t be announced any time soon, but there’s no doubt they are on the horizon. 

With short-term measures, such as the EEDI, EEXI and CII, already in place and mid and long-term measures under development, shipowners and operators should already be taking steps to increase the energy efficiency of their vessels and mitigate the impact of incoming regulations. 

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  • Generating up to 1MW of carbon-free electricity
  • Reducing fuel consumption by up to 5%, and,
  • Cutting CO2 emissions by up to 62,500 metric tonnes 

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