IMO Secretary-General: What is the pathway to net-zero shipping?

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General at the International Maritime Organization (IM0), has stressed the importance of collaboration across various maritime sectors in order to achieve industry targets for reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Lim was speaking at One Ocean Summit – Greening Maritime Corridors Forum: “From R&D to zero-emission ships”. The summit is being held from 9 to 11 February in Brest, France.

“Without a doubt, achieving decarbonization ambitions in the shipping sector will rely on a smooth transition to alternative low- and zero-carbon marine fuels.”

Photo: IMO

“I am encouraged to see many initiatives and projects worldwide on alternative low- and zero-carbon fuels. Early movers, including prominent French ship owners and other maritime stakeholders in France, are already in the process of ordering, building and retrofitting ships using low/zero-carbon fuels.”

Lim recognized that France played a “key role” in facilitating a constructive outcome particularly in the development of the short-term GHG reduction measures, adopted in 2021. This resulted in a comprehensive set of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, which provide important building blocks for IMO’s future mid-term GHG measures.

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He added that the strengthened and revised IMO GHG strategy is set to be adopted in 2023.

“This essential work must be completed, to set the path for the decarbonization of the shipping industry in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015 and with a view to the Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP 26 – which clearly underscores the need for accelerated action in this critical decade.”

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“The transition cuts across all aspects of shipping – from the supply and use of fuels, to safety matters, port operations and training of seafarers. The trials on use of zero-carbon maritime fuels will support a safe transition. We need everyone who is involved to be active in sharing their knowledge and experiences, to support the implementation of the strategy and the measures adopted by IMO.”

“As shipping makes the transition it is important to ensure that the journey is inclusive and global. To be effective, measures must be adopted and implemented on a global basis, this will ensure that we avoid market distortions and prevent the creation of loopholes that will defeat our ultimate aim,” he concluded.

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