Shipping big guns join forces to demand government action on decarbonisation including a carbon levy by 2025

More than 150 industry leaders and organisations have called for decisive government action to enable full decarbonisation of international shipping by 2050 including the rapid introduction of market-based measures by 2025.

Signatories of the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization have urged world leaders to align shipping with the Paris Agreement temperature goal.

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

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted an initial GHG strategy. It aims to reduce international shipping’s total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% of 2008 levels by 2050. The strategy is set to be revised in 2023 with the signatories to the new initiative arguing that full decarbonisation is possible if the private sector works in tandem with governments around the world.

“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 decarbonise the global economy,” said Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi.

Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO, fleet and strategic brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk, stressed yesterday the need for a market-based measure to close the competitiveness gap between fossil and zero emission fuels of today and the carbon neutral fuels of tomorrow, something backed up by many other signatories to the new pact.

“Decarbonising 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 decarbonisation and incentivise investment in zero emissions fuels and vessels. The time for action is now,” said Jeremy Weir, executive chairman and CEO at Trafigura.

Signatories of the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization have called on world leaders to commit to decarbonising international shipping by 2050 and deliver a clear and equitable implementation plan to achieve this when adopting the IMO GHG Strategy in 2023. They also want governments to support industrial scale zero emission shipping projects through national action, for instance by setting clear decarbonisation targets for domestic shipping and by providing incentives and support to first movers and broader deployment of zero emissions fuels and vessels.

The signatories have also called for 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.

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.

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. This is probably the worst article I have ever read on shipping. Not because of how it is written, or anything like that. It is what it says about the main players in shipping. One look at the list of players and you can make a determination that they have the ability to make the changes without crying to govt.

    The main charterers can simply demand ships are built in a certain way. The canal and ports can easily close its doors to business that does not have the right emissions. Owners, it’s in their hands, build the right ships. As for the fuel manufacturers, the grand hypocrites of the industry. They have the ability to create a new direction, clean fuels …. but it is simply not in their interests.

    Why do we have to adopt a “nanny” state approach to the solving of this problem. is it not time for shipping to grow up?

    Shipping has failed its workers, and while I think owners have done their best in the pandemic, charterers and ports have turned a blind eye to the abuse of seafarers welfare. Govt. could have solved this problem, but only the brave would have stopped their ships from calling at abusive ports and countries.

    The emissions discussion is gaining traction, so we can smother the life out of the seafarers rights discussion, which we all know is getting worse, not better. The players need to take a stand, on their own two feet instead of pleading for govt. to solve their problems…. Shell likes to wax on safety, and seafarers suicide rates, but they do not take a stand. Rightship and their shareholders also provide commentary on this, but Rightship is a business, not a crusade and maybe it should be.

    Roll your eyes all you like but the hard facts are right in front of us. Hard decisions, painful actions and disruptive logistics would make very clear the industry is serious about solving human rights and emissions.

  2. Science used to be important to both industry and government, though today, it appears to be irrelevant. Why? Because science REQUIRES that hypothesis such as the notion that “anthropogenic global warming is real” be proven by performing multiple studies using science, NOT fabricated assumptions, that get the same results when they test the hypothesis. This scientific process has never been done to test their hypothesis, though they have fabricated data to get the results they want because this entire issue is driven by an agenda that has nothing to do with science or truth but everything to do with forcing their wishes on the sheeple.

    One need only look at the fact that the sun delivers an amount of energy to the earth every 1.5 hours equal to ALL the energy consumed by ALL the people on the planet, that amount being over 5,000 times man’s total energy use annually. Despite that fact, some conclude that man’s activities do far more “damage” to the planet which is not just false but also arrogant beyond description.

    If companies wish to decarbonize, let them do it at their own expense, not at the expense of taxpayers who are forced to subsidize all these unprofitable approaches by a bunch of tyrants to do something for which there is NO scientific basis whatsoever.

  3. More often than not, you’ll find industry leaders support government regulations to stifle competition.

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