From the Editor: Decarbonizing Global Maritime Transport

The maritime goods transport industry’s slow-paced shift away from fossil fuels usage took a symbolic step forward in early December, when the CEOs of some of the world’s leading global shipping lines issued a joint declaration calling for an end date for fossil-only powered newbuilds.

In their statement, the CEOs also urged the global regulator International Maritime Organization (IMO), to create the regulatory conditions to accelerate the transition to green fuels.

“Being at the forefront of introducing lower greenhouse gas emission ships underscores the CEOs’ commitment to the IMO GHG reduction objectives,” according to a statement released Dec. 1 by the five shipping lines.

“As frontrunners, the CEOs are convinced that even closer collaboration with IMO regulators will produce the effective and concrete policy measures needed to underpin the investment within maritime shipping and its ancillary industries that will enable decarbonization to occur at the pace required.”

Specifically, the joint declaration calls for the establishment of four regulatory ‘cornerstones’:

  • An end date for new building of fossil fuel-only vessels.
  • A greenhouse gases (GHG) pricing mechanism to make green fuel competitive with fossil fuels during the transition phase when both are used.
  • A vessel pooling option for GHG regulatory compliance where the performance of a group of vessels could count instead of just individual ships, thereby ensuring investments are made where they achieve the biggest GHG reductions and accelerate decarbonization across the global fleet.
  • A Well-to-Wake or lifecycle GHG regulatory basis “to align investment decisions with climate interests and mitigate the risk of stranded assets.”

The five CEOs who signed the joint declaration are: Vincent Clerc of A.P. Moller – Maersk; Rodolphe Saadé of the CMA CGM Group; Rolf Habben Jansen of Hapag-Lloyd; Soren Toft of MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Co.); and Lasse Kristoffersen of Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

Their statement was released during COP28, a climate change conference where world leaders came together to discuss ways to address the climate crisis. This year’s conference takes place Nov. 30-Dec. Dec. 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

By Mark Edward Nero