Photo: Kitack Lim; Image by Offshore Energy

Lim: The biggest challenge for shipping will be addressing climate change

The biggest challenge for the shipping industry will be addressing climate change, the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in his address earlier today kicking off SMM Digital in Hamburg.

Over the next four days, the industry’s most renowned maritime fair is going digital featuring 60 hours of programme and more than 100 speakers from all maritime sectors broadcasted via two free streaming channels. 

The event will serve as a platform for the industry stakeholders to discuss the pressing challenges in the maritime industry ranging from the impact of the pandemic on various sectors to the role of the shipping industry in driving economic recovery in a greener and cleaner manner.

One of the key topics is the colossal task of decarbonizing the industry as well as the potential pathways of cutting emissions from the existing ships and those yet to be built.

“IMO is working to ensure shipping can embrace the upcoming revolution while ensuring safety, boosting environmental protection, and managing cybersecurity risks. However, the single, biggest challenge we will be facing is climate change,” Lim said.

“Now is the time to initiate shipping’s energy transition to meet ambitious decarbonization targets of the IMO’s Greenhouse Gas Strategy and to ultimately phase out greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. New technologies, new fuels, and innovation will be vital. Research into the development zero carbon marine fuels is underway with hydrogen, ammonia and biofuels considered to be viable options.

Nevertheless, as Lim pointed out more action is needed requiring investments in R&D and infrastructure development.

“To achieve this IMO is stepping up its efforts to act as the global promoter of R&D in zero carbon fuels bringing together industry stakeholders from the public and private sector,” he added.

Maritime trade is vital for the world economy. As explained, to develop a greener maritime industry structural cooperation on a massive scale will be required.

“We must all work together to enable this truly sustainable future,” he concluded.