Maersk, Euronav, Trafigura and Sovcomflot are among the shipping heavyweights who are backing a multilateral alliance to push decarbonisation in the maritime industry
A group of more than 70 businesses, governmental and non-governmental organisations and academic institutions have banded together to take part in an initiative aimed at developing and deploying "commercially viable deepsea zero-emissions vessels" by the end of the next decade.
The Global Maritime Forum announced the Getting to Zero Coalition’s creation during the Climate Action Summit at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, against the backdrop of the UN’s 2019 General Assembly.
The group hopes to expedite efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping and to add to growing calls pressuring industry and government alike to make quicker progress to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, globally.
“The ambition of the Getting to Zero Coalition is closely aligned with the UN International Maritime Organization’s Initial GHG Strategy,” a statement from the group said. “The coalition is committed to making this ambitious target a reality by getting commercially viable deepsea zero-emissions vessels powered by zero-emissions fuels into operation by 2030.”
A specific plan and organisational structure have yet to be announced, but the coalition said it wants “necessary infrastructure for scalable zero-carbon energy sources including production, distribution, storage and bunkering” in place to support zero-emissions vessels by 2030.
Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said “Decarbonising maritime shipping is a huge task with no simple answer, but it has to be done. We intend to be part of the long-term, zero-carbon, solution by seeking out the most feasible technologies that can work at a global scale. Starting now is essential because ships built today will stay on the water for decades.”
The group’s non-shipping business members come from banking, chartering, ports, insurance and classification societies. The coalition said it expects to quickly increase its membership, and that its near-term goals were plausible in terms of industry expectations around the necessary technological development needed to support zero-emissions vessel operations.
Acknowledging that both technological and policy hurdles remain, the coalition reiterated the role of the IMO in achieving its goal as well as its commitment to the goal.
“Collectively, we are committed to the decarbonisation of deepsea shipping and its energy value chains in line with the most ambitious interpretation of the IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships and the latest relevant IPCC climate science.”