China, US to create world’s 1st transpacific green shipping corridor

Los Angeles and Shanghai have announced a partnership of cities, ports, shipping companies and a network of cargo owners to create a first-of-its-kind green shipping corridor on one of the world’s busiest container shipping routes.

Port of Los Angeles
Image Courtesy: Port of Los Angeles

Convened by C40 Cities and the ports of Shanghai and Los Angeles, and including key maritime stakeholders, this partnership has agreed to work on an initiative to establish a Green Shipping Corridor to decarbonise goods movement between the largest ports in the United States and China.

The partnership has committed to delivering an implementation plan for the green corridor by the end of 2022 that will provide an outline for how they will continue to decarbonise this key maritime shipping corridor.

Specifically, key decarbonisation goals for the Green Shipping Corridor partnership include:

  • The phasing in of low, ultra-low, and zero-carbon fuelled ships through the 2020s, with the world’s first zero-carbon trans-Pacific containerships introduced by 2030 by qualified and willing shipping lines.
  • The development of best management practices to help reduce emissions and improve efficiency for all ships using this international trade corridor.
  • Reducing supply chain emissions from port operations, improving air quality in the ports of Shanghai and Los Angeles and adjacent communities.

The City of Shanghai, the City of Los Angeles, the Port of Shanghai (through the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission), the Port of Los Angeles and C40 Cities initiated this Green Shipping Corridor partnership.

Participating partners include A.P. Moller – Maersk, CMA CGM, Shanghai International Ports Group (SIPG), COSCO Shipping Lines, the Aspen Institute’s Shipping Decarbonisation Initiative, facilitators of Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) and the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre – Asia.

During his tenure as chair of C40, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti launched the C40 Green Ports Forum to decarbonise global supply chains that power our economies, one of his top priorities as chair. The Port of Los Angeles, under the mayor’s leadership, has been instrumental in developing the Los Angeles-Shanghai Green Shipping Corridor partnership.

“International collaboration is essential to decarbonise global supply chains. We look forward to partnering with the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission, the Shanghai International Port Group, leading shipping lines and major cargo owners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the maritime supply chain. It’s time to get started on this important work,” Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles said.

“Accelerating efforts to decarbonise the shipping sector is urgent if we are to limit global heating to 1.5°C. By convening international coalitions of the willing and creating a scalable and replicable model for other cities to follow, we hope this ground-breaking green shipping corridor initiative will catalyse action on a global scale,” Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities, noted.

“The Aspen Institute is proud to support this important international collaboration. Through our Shipping Decarbonisation Initiative and in our role as the facilitator of the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels initiative, we look forward to working with our partners to help enable the deployment of the first vessels powered by zero life-cycle greenhouse gas emission fuels along this critical shipping route and to making this green corridor project a model of success for the rest of the world,” Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, commented.

It is inspiring that the United States and China have come together in this way to address the climate impact of this crucial global industry.”

The global shipping industry is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Worldwide, GHG emissions from shipping are expected to double by 2050.

Establishing green shipping corridors is said to be critical to enabling the early adoption of long-term decarbonization solutions for international shipping, especially along major routes.

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