ABS sees shipping weening itself off oil as a fuel much quicker than earlier predicted

The potential for carbon markets and pricing to reshape global shipping, as well as the impact of the emerging hydrogen and carbon value chains, are explored in-depth in the latest support for the industry’s decarbonisation ambitions from class society ABS, which is now predicting a far quicker pullback for shipping from fossil fuels.

The 124-page fourth edition of the Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping series was officially launched yesterday at Posidonia and includes a range of concept designs for ships of the future.

“We are in the early innings of a decade of change for our industry and this latest outlook shows just how extensive and rapid that change is going to have to be if we are to meet 2050 objectives. We will need both hydrogen and carbon value chains to mature and scale up rapidly,” said Christopher Wiernicki, ABS chairman, president and CEO.

Under ABS’s base case for the ship types included in this study, total energy consumed by the shipping industry will rise from 185m tonnes HFO equivalent in 2020 to 237m tonnes HFO equivalent in 2050. This is due to the growing importance of containerships and, to a lesser extent, LNG carriers.

“The share of oil-based fuels will decline much faster after 2030 than predicted previously,” the study states, adding: “The adoption of alternative fuels is considered in the context of the fleet renewal we expect over the next few years, taking into account our assumptions about newbuilding contracting and ship demolition by size and type. The step change after 2030 is eminently feasible with the normal fleet renewal process on this basis.”

“The 2022 outlook provides a perspective on how new regulations, paired with carbon pricing and the development of new global hydrogen and carbon industries, are going to radically change the shape of our industry in the decades to come. Carbon economics is emerging as a major new force in our industry,” said Georgios Plevrakis, ABS vice president of global sustainability.

Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping: Zero Carbon Outlook is available for download here.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. One can only hope this is the case as it also indicates things could get even better quicker.

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