Inside Logistics

Shipping community calls for urgent decarbonization

More than 150 industry leaders and organizations representing the entire maritime value chain call on governments to work together with industry to deliver policies and investments to speed process


Shipping accounts for three percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

September 29, 2021
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Full decarbonization of international shipping is urgent and achievable. This is the message more than 150 industry leaders and organizations representing the entire maritime value chain, including shipping, cargo, energy, finance, ports, and infrastructure want global leaders to hear.

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

Signatories to the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization include some of the world’s largest players in global trade: A.P. Moller – Maersk, BHP, BP, BW LPG, Cargill, Carnival Corporation, Citi, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Euronav, GasLog, Hapag-Lloyd, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Olympic Shipping and Management, Panama Canal Authority, Port of Rotterdam, Rio Tinto, Shell, Trafigura, Ultranav, Volvo, and Yara.

“Decarbonizing shipping is both critical to achieving net zero global emissions and increasingly urgent. Policymakers have a historic opportunity to accelerate this process by introducing a global carbon levy on marine fuels, to drive decarbonization and incentivize investment in zero emissions fuels and vessels. The time for action is now,” said Jeremy Weir, executive chairman and CEO at Trafigura.

Calling for commitments

Signatories of the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization call on world leaders to:

  • Commit to decarbonizing international shipping by 2050 and deliver a clear and equitable implementation plan to achieve this when adopting the IMO GHG Strategy in 2023.
  • Support industrial scale zero emission shipping projects through national action, for instance by setting clear decarbonization targets for domestic shipping and by providing incentives and support to first movers and broader deployment of zero emissions fuels and vessels.
  • 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.

Ships transport around 80 percent of global trade and account for about three percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In 2018, the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted an initial GHG strategy. It aims to reduce international shipping’s total annual GHG emissions by at least 50 percent of 2008 levels by 2050. The strategy is set to be revised in 2023.

“Now is the time to raise our ambitions and align shipping worldwide — a significant carrier of global trade — 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 decarbonize the global economy,” said Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi.

Private sector action

The private sector is already taking action to decarbonize shipping. This includes investing in R&D and pilot projects, ordering and building vessels operated carbon neutrally, 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.

“For the world to decarbonize, shipping must decarbonize. Our customers are looking to us to decarbonize their supply chain emissions. We are 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,” said Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO, fleet and strategic brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

The Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization has been developed by a multi-stakeholder taskforce convened by the Getting to Zero Coalition – a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, the World Economic Forum, and Friends of Ocean Action. Members of the taskforce include Cargill Ocean Transportation, Citi, the COP26 Climate Champions team, the Energy Transitions Commission, Lloyd’s Register, Port of Antwerp, Torvald Klaveness, Trafigura, Yara, and UMAS.