R&D investments to shape future of shipping

Shipping industry players have warned that lack of investment in developing green technologies is the biggest threat to achieving decarbonisation targets.

The industry leaders representing 80% of global shipping met with ministers at the “Shaping the future of Shipping” conference on 6 November in Glasgow, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) informed.

Attendees identified ways to increase investment in research and development (R&D), and heard about a number of projects already underway to reduce the emissions from international shipping, which is said to be currently responsible for nearly three per cent of global emissions.

Findings from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which indicate that under current policy framework scenarios, low and zero-carbon fuels will make up less than three per cent of shipping’s total energy consumption by 2030 and roughly one third by 2050, were also highlighted during the conference.

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In order to accelerate the innovation, ICS recently published “A zero emissions blueprint for shipping” which identifies 265 example projects that could help decarbonise the maritime sector.

The report showed that an estimated cost of $4.4 billion would be needed to fund these projects.

An option to fund such projects, discussed at the meeting, is the creation of a $5 billion R&D fund, the IMRF, paid for by shipowners to accelerate investment in new zero emissions technologies.

Esben Poulsson, chairman of ICS, said: “The net zero carbon pathway that we have all committed to is not achievable without a rapid and unified increase in R&D spending. We know what needs to be done but we need a global solution for a global industry to ensure that developing economies are not left behind”.

“This is why we are looking to representatives of government, at no financial cost to their taxpayers, to approve the proposed $5 billion R&D fund as soon as possible. Right now, it is being held back due to political hesitancy. This is the time for leaders to step up.”

The shipping industry recently committed to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, doubling the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) existing target.

ICS and others also pushed for a global carbon price in the form of a market-based measure to be introduced as soon as possible.

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