Confirmation by the International Maritime Organization of a 20% correction in its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) calculation formula for ro-ro and ro-pax vessels has been welcomed by trade association Interferry as an incentive to revive newbuild projects that have been inhibited by the current criteria.

The decision was confirmed today at the conclusion of this week’s meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and can be applied immediately.

The EEDI requires that, by certain dates, all types of new ships built for international operation must be more energy efficient than the average of existing designs in their respective trades. In 2016, Interferry used its IMO consultative status to voice concerns from members that – even with highly efficient newbuild designs – the sector-wide target was proving problematic, suggesting it might be due to the diversity of such vessels.

After extensive industry research and deliberations, supported by several flag administrations, the IMO has now adopted the draft amendment approved at last year’s MEPC session – confirming that the dataset used to establish the ro-ro and ro-pax requirements contained too many errors and agreeing that a 20% correction shall be applied.

The IMO is encouraging flag states to apply the correction retrospectively. Interferry regulatory affairs director Johan Roos comments: “This means the 20% adjustment can also be introduced immediately for existing contracted new buildings, providing a much-needed margin for many projects that struggle to meet the EEDI requirements, sometimes missing by just a few percentage points.”

Praising Finland and the Republic of Korea for their ‘instrumental’ role in the agreement, Mr. Roos adds: “It’s important to stress that this is not a relaxation of the requirement for improved energy performance – it’s a fair and just way of ensuring the ferry sector achieves it. We are very pleased that our members will now be able to proceed with design projects that have previously been considered too risky.”