Speaking at the annual Summit of Transport Ministers hosted by the OECD International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Mr Bennett explained: 'As well as being consistent with the 1.5 degree climate change goal, the IMO targets are far more ambitious than what has so far been agreed for aviation, or indeed the commitments made by governments with respect to the rest of the global economy under the Paris Agreement.'
With respect to the IMO goals set for 2050 - a 70 per cent efficiency improvement as an average across the fleet, and a total CO2 cut by the sector of at least 50 per cent by 2050 (regardless of expected growth in maritime trade), Mr Bennett said 'these targets can realistically only be achieved with the development and global roll out of genuine zero CO2 fuels.'
'To be clear, zero CO2 fuels means radical and as yet unproven technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells using ammonia or methanol or batteries powered using renewable energy. While LNG or biofuels will play an important part in the transition we only really see these as interim solutions that won't deliver the ambitious targets which IMO has now set for 2050.
'While we are confident new zero CO2 technologies will eventually deliver they are not yet fully ready for maritime application, and certainly not yet for deep sea trades.'
He said: 'To kick start new technologies we also may need to make some compromises. For example, in order to develop hydrogen propulsion systems, and gain experience of the serious technical challenges, we may need to initially permit use of hydrogen that is still derived from fossil feedstock rather than renewables, a technology which is not quite there yet, though probably not insurmountable in the longer term.'
With regard to short term measures, Mr Bennett said the industry recognises that there is a political need among many governments for new IMO regulations that will start achieving further CO2 reductions from the sector before 2023, so that the industry stays on track to improve efficiency, as an average across the sector, by at least 40 per cent by 2030, as also agreed by IMO.
The next round of IMO discussions will take place in October 2018 in order to consider a list of possible candidate measures for CO2 reduction, and the industry is planning to make some detailed submissions to that meeting.