Sweden sets out to lead world shipping towards decarbonisation

Swedish shipping is setting out to be ahead of the pack when it comes to decarbonisation. The Swedish Shipowners’ Association has outlined plans to be fossil fuel free by 2045, five years’ ahead of current IMO decarbonisation targets.

The association is developing a roadmap to net zero greenhouse gas emissions in partnership with Fossil-free Sweden, a government initiative.

The heads of the two bodies wrote an opinion article for local financial newspaper, Dagens Industri, in which they stated that with the right incentives, local shipping can transform to become fossil fuel free in 26 years’ time.

A national target to cut emissions from domestic transport 70% by 2030, on the way to net zero in 2045, is “challenging but not impossible”, wrote shipowners boss Rikard Engström and Svante Axelsson, the head of Fossil-free Sweden.

The article called on the government to fund innovation and make changes to the existing tax system to favour low carbon technology and practices. By being early adopters of new technology Swedish shipping could gain a competitive advantage, the article suggested.

Last year the member states of the IMO agreed to halve shipping’s carbon footprint by 2050. Danish carrier Maersk has since gone a step further, planning to be carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

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. The biggest question is missing in the article. How do they plan to do it? What carbon-free technologies do they want to pursue?

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