Maritime industry says decarbonisation urgent, achievable

22nd September 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

More than 150 maritime logistics roleplayers, representing the entire maritime value chain, including shipping, cargo, energy, finance, ports and infrastructure, have said that the full decarbonisation of international shipping is urgent and achievable.

Ships transport about 80% of global trade and account for about 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In 2018, the United Nations’ (UN’s) International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted an initial GHG strategy, aimed at reducing international shipping’s total yearly GHG emissions by at least 50% of 2008 levels, by 2050. The strategy is set to be revised in 2023.

In conjunction with the UN General Assembly, and ahead of critical climate negotiations at COP26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November, they call on governments to work together with industry to deliver the policies and investments needed to reach critical tipping points in decarbonising global supply chains and the global economy.

Signatories to the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation include some of the largest actors in global trade, including AP Moller – Maersk, BHP, BP, BW LPG, Cargill, Carnival Corporation, Citi, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Euronav, GasLog, Hapag-Lloyd, Lloyd's Register, Mitsui OSK Lines, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Olympic Shipping and Management, Panama Canal Authority, Port of Rotterdam, Rio Tinto, Shell, Trafigura, Ultranav, Volvo and Yara.


Citi CEO Jane Fraser says that it is currently the time to raise the industry’s ambitions and align shipping worldwide with the goals of the Paris Agreement. “We are working closely with our clients to advance the shipping industry’s transition to net zero emissions and, with the support of strong public policy measures, we can accelerate our collective efforts to decarbonise the global economy.”

The private sector is already taking concrete actions to decarbonise shipping. This includes investing in research, design and development; pilot projects; ordering and building vessels that are carbon neutral; buying zero emission shipping services; investing in the production of net-zero emission fuels; investing in port and bunkering infrastructure; and assessing and disclosing the climate alignment of shipping-related activities.

AP Moller – Maersk fleet & strategic brands CEO Henriette Thygesen says that for the world to decarbonise, shipping must decarbonise. “Our customers are looking to us to decarbonise their supply chain emissions.”

As such, she says the company is investing significantly in the carbon neutral emissions technologies that are readily available. “To make such investments the default choice across our industry, we need a market-based measure to close the competitiveness gap between fossil and zero emission fuels of today and the carbon neutral fuels of tomorrow.”

Trafigura executive chairperson and CEO Jeremy Weir states that decarbonising shipping is both critical to achieving net zero global emissions, and increasingly urgent. “Policymakers have an historic opportunity to accelerate this process by introducing a global carbon levy on marine fuels, to drive decarbonisation and incentivise investment in zero emissions fuels and vessels. The time for action is now.”

In addition, Global Maritime Forum CEO Johannah Christensen says that to make the transition to zero emission shipping and fuels equitable and inclusive, policy measures must make sure that decarbonising shipping also brings jobs and opportunities to people in developing countries and emerging economies.

In line with the industry’s endeavours, signatories of the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation call on world leaders to commit to decarbonising international shipping by 2050 and deliver a clear and equitable implementation plan to achieve this when adopting the IMO GHG Strategy in 2023.

They also want support for industrial scale zero emission shipping projects through national action, for instance by setting clear decarbonisation targets for domestic shipping and by providing incentives and support to first movers, as well as broader deployment of zero emissions fuels and vessels.

Further, signatories want world leaders to deliver policy measures that will make zero emission shipping the default choice by 2030, including meaningful market-based measures, taking effect by 2025, that can support the commercial deployment of zero emission vessels and fuels in international shipping.