Shipping Industry Commits To Decarbonization

Major players in global shipping have signed on to an ambitious, U.N.-sponsored effort to completely “decarbonize” shipping by the year 2030. A coalition of international organizations involved in shipping proposed in a March 10 news release setting up a $5 billion fund to support research and development in decarbonizing technologies. 

The organizations supporting this idea include the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world’s largest maritime council; the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo); the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko); the World Shipping Council; and maritime countries whose flagged vessels make up the bulk of world shipping, including Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore and Switzerland.

The fund, which would be supervised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a U.N. body, would support research into zero-carbon technologies applicable to shipping, including “technologies that do not yet exist,” according to the statement.

International shipping transports more than 80 percent of global trade and emits 2 percent of global emissions, according to the groups. The letter was issued as part of the run-up to a meeting of the IMO in London in November 2021, which will coincide with the next U.N. Climate Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland. The proposed fund would be administered by the IMO.

“The big challenge is not building a single zero carbon ship. The big challenge is creating the technologies needed to decarbonize the entire global fleet at speed and scale. The sooner the IMO Maritime Research Fund is established, the sooner industry can develop zero emission ships to decarbonize maritime transport,” the statement said.