On March 3, 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations that regulates international shipping, announced its research project into the availability of low and zero-carbon marine fuels and technology. The Future Fuels and Technology for Low and Zero-Carbon Shipping Project (FFT Project) is one of several initial steps that the IMO will take to accomplish its priority goal of eliminating or reducing carbon emissions from international shipping. Ultimately, the FFT Project will support the IMO Strategy on Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships (IMO GHG Strategy).
In June 2022 at its 78th Session, the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) recognized the challenges to reducing shipping carbon emissions and announced a series of guidelines for interim measures to reduce greenhouse gases. These guidelines, which entered into force on November 1, 2022, introduced the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), the annual operation carbon intensity indicator ratings (CII), and a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for international shipping. In addition, MEPC approved draft amendments to Appendix IV of The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI regarding the analysis and reporting of EEXI and CII values.
The IMO Marine Environment Division is spearheading the FFT Project to explore the possible avenues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the FFT Project will focus on alternative sources of low carbon and zero carbon shipping fuels and technology to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in international shipping. The FTP Project will focus on safety, pricing, the feasibility of infrastructure requirements, supply chain issues, and obstacles to implementing the IMO GHG Strategy.
The FFT Project is a public-private partnership between the IMO, a United Nations agency, and the Republic of Korea, who will provide funding for the FFT Project. The FFT Project will have a duration of three years through 2025. The three phases of the FFT Project include an analysis of the following: (i) potential training and safety issues; (ii) the current and projected dissemination of low and zero-carbon marine technology and fuels; and (iii) the development of potential pilot projects. Finally the FFT Project will include a comprehensive website for the use of IMO Member States. 
If you would like more information, please contact Katie Matison. Keep up-to-date by subscribing to Lane Powell’s Legal Updates.
 The United States is a signatory to Annexes I, II, III, V and VI of the MARPOL Convention.