The proposal originated by a wide group of industry associations for the establishment of an International Maritime Research and Development Board and Fund aimed at generating core funding of around USD 5 billion over a 10-year period to be used to accelerate the development of commercially viable zero-carbon emission ships was updated and submitted to MEPC 76 with a number of member state co-signatories.   The $5billion is envisaged to be collected through a mandatory contribution of around $2 per tonne of fuel delivered to ships, but the paper also envisages contributions from other stakeholders, such as engine manufacturers and shipyards, potentially increasing the funding available.  The proposal sets out details for governance and funding of the coordinated R&D programme, which could be put in place by 2023 via amendments to MARPOL Annex VI.

It should be noted that this proposal is not designed as a market-based measure.  It is an attempt to encourage the development of systems that will allow the industry to decarbonise.  Only once alternative fuels and technologies are commercially available will there be any value in discussing ways to encourage their uptake, although it will still be necessary to take into account the views of developing countries who have genuine concerns that any levy pitched at too high a level could have a detrimental impact on their trade.  

The reaction to the proposal at MEPC 76 was mixed, with support from a number of member states, but opposition from others, particularly those who support the introduction in the short term of a market-based-measure. The proposal will be discussed further at MEPC 77 in November.