Maritime Leaders Call for Government Support for Decarbonization

shipping industry leaders call for governments to support decarbonization efforts
(file photo)

Published Oct 27, 2021 6:18 PM by The Maritime Executive

Days before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is due to begin in Glasgow, leaders from across all sectors of the maritime industry have come together calling on governments and international regulators to take decisive action in support of shipping decarbonization. Saying that they recognize the urgency of their efforts and believe that decarbonization is achievable, the shipping industry is collectively asked governments to work together with the industry to deliver the policies and investments needed to reach critical tipping points in decarbonizing global supply chains and the global economy.

More than 200 industry leaders and organizations signed the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization developed by the Getting to Zero Coalition, a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, the World Economic Forum, and Friends of Ocean Action. Shipping companies and operators joined with service and consultancies and the ports as well from the sectors of finance, energy, manufacturing shipping customers, shipbuilding, and infrastructure, united in their call for action.

“With the Call to Action, leaders from across the maritime value chain send a strong signal to governments meeting in Glasgow next week that it’s time to raise ambitions and commit to fully decarbonize international shipping by 2050. If governments want to be climate heroes at COP26, they must also be climate heroes at the International Maritime Organization, where urgent action is needed to put international shipping on a just and equitable Paris-aligned pathway,” says Johannah Christensen, Chief Executive Officer, Global Maritime Forum.

Fears have been raised that the IMO is losing its leadership role in shaping the policy for the decarbonization of shipping. Multiple regulators and authorities around the globe are stepping in creating a patchwork of initiatives to oversee the shipping industry. In the report with the Call to Action, they also detail the range of efforts underway by the individual companies to address the challenges. The report says the measuring and reporting emissions data has been the first step toward decarbonization and more than half of signatories report that they have started or are participating in research, development, and demonstration efforts.

The industry recognizes that zero emission and zero emission capable vessels need to be ordered with more than a quarter of the participants reporting that they have already taken actions ordering new vessels. They however also identify the need for the shippers to use zero emission services all along the supply chain as well as the need to invest in creating zero emission fuels and building the bunkering infrastructure to support the industry’s transition.

“The Call to Action demonstrates that there is broad industry support for the decarbonization of shipping and shows the many actions and commitments that are already being made by companies,” said the report. It also specifies what is needed from governments to fully decarbonize the sector by 2050.

Specifically, signatories call on governments to commit to decarbonizing international shipping by 2050. To achieve this, they say that governments work together with the IMO to deliver policy measures that will make zero emission shipping the default choice by 2030. Support they say is required for industrial-scale zero emission shipping projects through national action.

The initiative being led by the Global Maritime Forum delivered the Call to Action to the UK Presidency of COP26 before the opening of the COP26 conference on October 31. Directly after the meeting which runs till November 12, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is due to meet to consider a broad range of initiatives aimed at the industry’s efforts to decarbonize. The IMO has been under pressure to act from a broad range of governments and organizations, with many saying that the IMO’s 50 percent targets by 2050 are too long and not strong enough.  The EU for example is pushing forward with its Fuel EU Maritime proposals designs to accelerate the adopting of alternative fuels, while the United States and others have said industry broadly must be carbon neutral by 2050.

Signatories to the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization include major shipping lines A.P. Moller- Maersk, BW LPG, Cargill Ocean Transportation, Carnival Corporation, Hapag-Lloyd, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, and others. Broad segments of the maritime industry participating in the initiative also include BP, Citi, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Lloyd’s Register, Panama Canal Authority, Port of Rotterdam, and others.