MTCC Africa Hosts Energy Efficiency Conference

PS Karigithu confers with VC Prof. Ngumi during a courtesy call in February, 2021.

The inaugural virtual Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition (ConfEx) organized by the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa (MTCC Africa) kicked off,  Wednesday, March 17,  and is set to run through 18th, 24th and 25th March, 2021.

The Conference is poised to set the pace towards technology-driven solutions to climate change within the shipping industry.

The MTCC Africa, hosted at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Mombasa Campus, is an initiative funded by the European Union with technical support from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The centre forms part of the Global MTCCs Network (GMN), with other centres in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific regions.

In her opening remarks, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi underscored the University’s commitment to graduating skilled students in the maritime sector, and reiterated JKUAT’s commitment to increasing efforts in research, technology transfer and capacity building to ensure the exploitation of the blue economy is sustainable.

“I am happy to report that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, MTCC Africa up-scaled its activities all over Africa through jointly planned capacity building projects and virtual workshops that facilitated tooling and skilling of professionals in the maritime shipping industry besides undertaking energy audits in selected ports in Africa,” she asserted.

MTCC Africa’s principal focus is the promotion of the uptake of low carbon technologies and energy efficient practices in the maritime and shipping industry, through technical co-operation, capacity building and technology transfer.

IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitak Lim

The ConfEx, besides being an avenue for stakeholders in the maritime sector to deliberate on best shipping practices, is also offering a platform for innovative participation from technology providers across Africa and the world at large.

In his address, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, Mr. James Macharia, opined that climate change is a reality that affects every corner of the world, and must now be taken up as a matter of urgency.

“In the last century, the rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has occasioned extreme weather patterns, which have disrupted food patterns, and caused wildfires, ocean coral bleaching, a rise in sea levels, among others.  The rise in CO2 levels is directly or indirectly attributed to human activities,” he said.

The ConfEx is taking place within the context of the IMO MARPOL Annex VI, which addresses air pollution from ocean-going ships, and advances the implementation of global regulations to address emission of air pollutants from ships and the mandatory energy efficiency measures aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases from international shipping.

MARPOL is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and is concerned with preventing marine pollution from ships. The IMO Initial Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from ships aims to reduce CO2 emissions across international shipping by at least 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. To achieve these targets, according to CS Macharia, there is an urgent need to supplement regulation with innovation.

His sentiments were echoed by his Maritime and Shipping Affairs Principal Secretary, Mrs. Nancy Karigithu, who encouraged participating countries at the ConfEx to consider the ratification of IMO MARPOL Annex VI, and to promote the uptake of low carbon technologies in the maritime sector.

As he declared the ConfEx officially open, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, made a rallying call for collaboration and cooperation in the maritime sector, which he said, has never been more important than now.

“Shipping needs to be sustainable, because the world trade depends significantly on the shipping industry. It is therefore not enough for just one country to be compliant. This must be a collective effort, if any tangible outcomes are to be felt,” said Mr. Lim.

On his part, the Director, International Maritime Law Institute (IMO-IMLI), Prof. David Attard, made a passionate case in his keynote address for a shipping sector where decarbonization does not take a back seat to economic interests.

“As the Secretary General has clearly put it, shipping is essential to international trade. In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the world’s economic recovery and the future of business continuity and growth is going to rely greatly on shipping. The sustainability of shipping therefore has to be a priority, now,” he concluded.

The first stage of the virtual Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition culminates today, 18th March, 2021, with technological exhibitions from various participants targeting innovative ways of ensuring decarbonization in the shipping industry. The ConfEx shall continue from 24 to 25 March, 2021.

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