The IMO’s CII and EEXI decisions: why Stena Bulk is ahead of the curve on new environmental requirements
July 2021

Only a few weeks ago, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) convened for their latest meeting to discuss marine environmental issues. As an organisation with a vision for minimum sustainability impact, Stena Bulk followed the committee’s discussions and progress very closely, paying special attention to new regulations on vessel carbon intensity and energy efficiency.

After five days of debate, the IMO agreed to adopt two short-term efficiency measures covering the next decade. The first one is the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), which will force ships of 5,000GT or above to improve their CO2 intensity by 2% annually between 2023 and 2026. The second one is the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), which will force the current fleet to improve its efficiency on par with newbuild vessels.

These new regulations will have important implications on the shipping community, which includes, of course, our own fleet. CII will bring a rating system from A to E depending on the vessels’ performance against the target for an annual 2% target reduction of emissions. Ships with a D rating for three consecutive years or an E rating will need to develop plans to improve performance. Additionally, around 30,000 vessels will fall under the EEXI remit and will need to complete a comprehensive EEXI calculation. The value of this calculation will need to sit equal to or below the ‘required EEXI’ set for that specific ship type and size as outlined by the IMO.

After carefully reviewing the new measures and its implications for our organisation, we can confidently say that our commitment to pioneering innovation and sustainability excellence gives us an important advantage when new environmental regulations come into play.

As a progressive voice in shipping, we are constantly pushing boundaries in order to innovate and drive the industry forward. We see technological investment and future fuels trials as progressive and commercially sensible steps that future proof our fleet and our processes and will drive further commercial success for Stena Bulk in the future. This also gives us a solid competitive advantage and positions us well ahead of our competition.

With this mentality - which is shared by every member of our organisation from the executive leadership to our engineering teams and crews - new regulation never comes as an unpleasant surprise because progress towards targets and goals is already underway.

This is a great opportunity to share some examples of the forward-looking announcements that the team at Stena Bulk is excited about and that sets us on the right track for decarbonisation. In March, we unveiled our InfinityMAX concept vessel design, which is an electric, modular hybrid bulk carrier designed to meet the world’s need for sustainable, zero carbon, efficient, and flexible seaborne transportation. As we said back in March, we aim to have a ship with a similar design to the InfinityMAX concept operating on the water by 2035 at the latest.  

We are also already working on our target to become a fully carbon neutral tanker operator by 2040, when some of our vessels will be zero emissions, some will run on carbon neutral fuels, and we will have carbon emissions offsetting programs in place to fully achieve the carbon neutral operations goal. By 2050, we aim to become a fully net zero emissions business, and we’ll share this responsibility with our customers to ensure that all cargo carried by our fleet is climate neutral.

As many of you may know, the MEPC kicked off with a warning from IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim that “failure is not an option” for shipping when tackling the decarbonisation challenge. We agree with Mr. Lim. And we are putting all of our industry partnerships, knowledge, innovation potential and technological development to work to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve and lead the way in sustainability excellence.

Gothenburg, July 2021
Erik Hånell, President & CEO at Stena Bulk