Shipping announcements coming out thick and fast at COP27

Shipping announcements came thick and fast yesterday from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, location for this year’s United Nations-convened COP27 climate conference.

Grabbing the most headlines was the Green Shipping Challenge, launched by the US and Norway, creating a platform for around 40 commitments to accelerate ship decarbonisation, with US presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and Norwegian prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre on hand for the launch.

The Green Shipping Challenge encourages countries, ports and shipping companies to take action at COP27 to align the industry with the 2015 Paris Agreement goal to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. A host of announcements, many already signalled, were folded into the new platform including from the likes of Amazon, DP World and Maersk as well as many national initiatives led by green corridor plans.

Green shipping corridors now span the globe

Green shipping corridors, promoted massively at COP26 in Glasgow last November, have really taken off, with routes now spanning the globe with port pairs vowing to offer alternative fuels.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and C40 Cities – a global network of mayors taking action to confront the climate crisis – revealed plans yesterday to establish a green and digital shipping corridor between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay port complex. Similar green routes from Southern California to Shanghai and South Korea are also slated while other routes cover Asia-Europe, the transatlantic, intra-Asia, intra-Europe and intra-North America.

Also yesterday three more countries – Panama, Uruguay, and Norway – signed up to the Clean Energy Marine Hub Initiative (CEM-Hubs), a group of representatives from across the global energy-maritime value chain, to set up alternative fuel hubs. The initiative, which is co-led by a taskforce of CEOs, is a cross-sectoral public-private initiative aiming to accelerate the production, export and import of low-carbon fuels across the world.

The three governments join the UAE and Canada, who were the first to join the CEM-Hubs initiative when it was announced at the Clean Energy Ministerial, in Pittsburgh, earlier this year.

CEM-Hubs is co-ordinated with the support of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH), and the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM).

Decarbonising shipping and decarbonising the world are two sides of the same coin

Speaking in Sharm El-Sheikh, Emanuele Grimaldi, chairman of ICS, commented: “Decarbonising shipping and decarbonising the world are two sides of the same coin. All stakeholders across the world’s energy landscape need to work together to decarbonise.”

Further COP27 announcements likely to make headlines in the coming nine days include an American methane pledge, a Danish update on shipping’s 2050 pathway, plus plenty of zero-emission vessel news.

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.
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