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Top charterers agree to publish shipping emissions data

Some of the biggest names in chartering have vowed to make the details of their shipping carbon footprint public in a potentially enormous shake-up for sea transportation.

International non-profit organisation, Global Maritime Forum, announced today that a group of the world’s largest energy, agriculture, mining, and commodity trading companies will for the first time assess and disclose the climate alignment of their shipping activities.

The brand new Sea Cargo Charter sets a “new benchmark for responsible shipping, transparent climate reporting, and improved decision making in line with United Nations decarbonization targets”, according to a release from the Global Maritime Forum.

A standard greenhouse gas emissions reporting process will simplify some of the complexities often associated with reporting

The Sea Cargo Charter is a global framework that allows for the integration of climate considerations into chartering decisions to favour climate-aligned maritime transport. Founding signatories of the charter include Anglo American, ADM, Bunge, Cargill Ocean Transportation, COFCO International, Dow, Equinor, Gunvor Group, Klaveness Combination Carriers, Louis Dreyfus Company, Norden, Occidental, Shell, Torvald Klaveness, and Trafigura.

The charter establishes a common baseline to quantitatively assess and disclose whether shipping activities are aligned with adopted climate goals. It has been designed to be in step with the policies and ambitions adopted by member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), including its ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050.

“The Sea Cargo Charter enables leaders from diverse industry sectors to use their influence to drive change and promote shipping’s green transition by choosing maritime transport that is aligned with agreed climate targets over that which is not,” said Johannah Christensen, managing director of the Global Maritime Forum.

“A standard greenhouse gas emissions reporting process will simplify some of the complexities often associated with reporting. It will encourage a more transparent and consistent approach to tracking emissions, which will be a critical part of making shipping more sustainable,” said Jan Dieleman, president, Cargill Ocean Transportation and chair of the Sea Cargo Charter drafting group.

We would like the IMO toto set the trajectory for the sector to move to net-zero emissions by 2050

Smart Freight Centre, University College London Energy Institute/UMAS and Stephenson Harwood helped in the drafting of the landmark charter.

“The shipping industry as a whole needs to adopt a transparent approach, advocated by the Sea Cargo Charter, in order to fully understand the sector’s overall greenhouse gas footprint and for us to collectively rise to the challenges faced,” commented Rasmus Bach Nielsen, global head of fuel decarbonisation at Trafigura.

Grahaeme Henderson, global head of Shell Shipping & Maritime, urged the IMO to tighten up its 2050 goals.

“Building on this momentum we would like the IMO to use its 2023 strategy review to set the trajectory for the sector to move to net-zero emissions by 2050,” Henderson said, heaping more pressure on the UN body, which is already reeling from the European Parliament’s decision to include shipping in the European Union’s carbon trading scheme.

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. Maersk Line (a group member of the wider Maersk organisation with whom Cargill as a leading player in GMF seem to have shared ambitions and alignment) have said they will be carbon-neutral – i.e. 100% – by 2050.
    Why is GMF being so reticent about their bulk cargo ambitions – only 50% by 2050??

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