Shipping article(s)
December 4, 2023

The chief executives of leading global shipping lines have issued a joint declaration at COP 28 calling for an end date for fossil-only powered newbuilds and urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global regulator, to create the regulatory conditions to accelerate the transition to green fuels.


In a joint statement, the ocean liners noted that global temperatures are breaching critical levels, creating more frequent and devasting results — noting, therefore, the importance of shipping achieving IMO’s 2030, 2040, and net-zero 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets.


"The only realistic way to meet those targets for an industry that accounts for 2-3% of global GHG emissions is to transition from fossil to green fuels at scale and at pace," it said.

"Being at the forefront of introducing lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emission ships underscores the CEOs' commitment to the IMO GHG reduction objectives for 2030, 2040, and 2050."


The statement added that as frontrunners, the shipping 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.

Their joint declaration calls for the establishment of four regulatory "cornerstones."

This includes an end date for the new building of fossil fuel-only vessels and a clear GHG Intensity Standard timeline "to inspire investment confidence, both for new ships and the fuel supply infrastructure needed to accelerate the energy transition."

It also calls for an effective GHG pricing mechanism to make green fuel competitive with black fuel 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 only that of individual ships, ensuring investments are made where they achieve the greatest GHG reduction and thereby accelerating decarbonization across the global fleet.

The chief executives also called for a "Well-to-Wake" or lifecycle GHG regulatory basis to align investment decisions with climate interests and mitigate the risk of stranded assets.

"In an unprecedented action, major players of the shipping industry express their shared conviction that regulation can play a key role in mitigating the cost of the green transition as well as the risk of extreme weather events," the announcement said.

"A.P. Moller - Maersk wants to accelerate the green transition in shipping and logistics and a crucial next step is to introduce regulatory conditions which ensure that we create the most greenhouse gas emission reductions per invested dollar. This includes an efficient pricing mechanism to close the gap between fossil and green fuels and ensure that the green choice is easier to make for our customers and consumers globally," said Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Moller - Maersk.


"The momentum for green fuel is building, and we are pleased to see strong partnerships across the industry as we continue our joint efforts of making decarbonisation in shipping successful," he added.

Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and chief executive officer of the CMA CGM Group, for his part, noted that "climate change is a general concern not a matter of competition."


"The CMA CGM Group is extremely pleased to join this unique Coalition, which brings together leading shipping companies to urge the adoption of the upper targets of the IMO trajectory. This sets an ambitious milestone for the decarbonization of our industry."


He added that by collaborating with others, each firm takes a new step in our energy transition while ensuring a collective level playing field and access to greener fuels for the industry.


"This new commitment is fully in line with the CMA CGM Group's ambition to be Net Zero by 2050. We have already invested close to US$15 billion in decarbonizing our fleet, which will enable us to have almost 120 vessels capable of being powered by decarbonized fuels by 2028," the CMA CGM chief added.

Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of Hapag-Lloyd, said: "Our collective responsibility for a sustainable future and clean practices is paramount."


"At Hapag-Lloyd, we reaffirm our commitment to advance the decarbonisation of the maritime industry and strive to be at the forefront of the energy transition. We believe that a regulatory framework and clear targets are crucial to accelerating the introduction of alternative fuels and reducing our carbon footprint."


He added that this commitment is in line with Hapag-Lloyd's goal of achieving a net-zero carbon fleet by 2045.

Soren Toft, chief executive officer of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, noted how shipping is at the "forefront" of technological innovation when it comes to decarbonization.


He noted that for MSC, its fleet renewal strategy includes 100 dual-fuel vessels.


"We are proud to be part of this unprecedented collaboration with our peers, and it is only right that together we follow this path towards net zero that we must achieve by 2050."


"The support of Governments across the world will be an essential element to reach our common goal, and among those efforts, we want to see an end to the delivery of ships that can only run on fossil fuels. MSC has fully supported and committed to net decarbonization by 2050, but without the full support from other stakeholders, particularly energy providers, it will be extremely difficult to meet those objectives - no one can do this alone."


"Today it feels like we are one step closer in this regard, but the concrete supply of alternative fuels and globally recognised GHG pricing are essential to achieve our goals," Toft added.

Lasse Kristoffersen, president and chief executive Officer of Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said that the company will focus its investments on its net-zero goal.


"Our customers want to partner with us on the voyage. Now, we need a global regulatory framework matching this ambition to drive the investments needed at a global scale," Kristoffersen said.

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