Maritime transport cannot solve the decarbonisation problem on its own

All stakeholders must step in to help solve the problem because decarbonization is not something the shipping industry can solve on its own, stressed Johannah Christensen, CEO of the Global Maritime Forum (GMF).

And time is running out because the decisions that are made regarding the different technologies used will have to be made within the next three to eight years if the industry is to meet its decarbonization goals, she said.

GMF has taken steps to put some of these groupings in place with its initiatives such as the Poseidon Principles for Shipping Finance and the Sea Freight Charter for Freight Owners as well as its broad Getting to Zero coalition.

Christensen pointed out that with more scale, stakeholders and volumes, the costs of decarbonization will also decrease, which will play an important role in increasing adoption.

But it is also recognized that other actors as well as governments and regulators need to play a bigger role, said Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is important with industry-led initiatives needing government support to function.

“The science of decarbonization is not difficult,” he said. But this science needs to be integrated into a common framework that can be scaled up across different sectors, geographies and supply systems to see which energy pathways will be chosen. This comparison is very important because it will determine where the investments will be placed in the near future.

The next two to four years is a key phase where open discussions on the technology to be used for decarbonization are to take place, said Mads Bondergaard, Airbus Asia-Pacific operations manager. The role of governments in helping to structure these discussions is also important, he added.

However, while recognizing that collaboration is essential to finding effective solutions, the reality is that every business must also be competitive, which can make collaboration difficult, Cerup-Simonsen noted.

To address this problem, the center strives to provide a pre-compete framework by facilitating a neutral, IP-free zone where companies can come together to collaborate openly before bringing products to market.

Meanwhile, on the key fuel supply side of the decarbonization equation, Oil and Gas Climate Initiative’s Transport Workstream chairman, Michael Traver, said that while his industry is working on producing fuels low carbon liquids, it is useful to have discussions with stakeholders in the shipping industry to identify obstacles that still need to be overcome.

He saw the role of the oil and gas industry as that of providing its expertise in the delivery and handling of fuels to deliver new fuels in a safe and efficient manner.

Regarding Singapore’s role and the role the Global Center for Maritime Decarbonization can play, panelists said the republic has a key role to play in addressing decarbonization issues because of its central role as a as a commercial hub.

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