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New Green Shipping Challenge Announcements made at COP28

Dec 5, 2023

Last year at COP27, two members of the Ocean Panel, Norway and the USA launched a new initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and challenged other countries, ports and companies to join them.  One year on, COP28 in Dubai saw an update on progress and further commitments made towards this ambitious goal.  

International shipping carries approximately 80% of all global trade, taking a considerable toll on the planet in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  

At this year’s Green Shipping Challenge event John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate remarked, “if shipping were a nation, it would be the eighth largest emitter in the world. This is not inconsequential, on the contrary it’s of enormous significance because you don’t get to net-zero global by 2050 – you don’t get anywhere near where we need to be to keep 1.5 alive — without this industry being front and centre in the transition.” 

Emissions from shipping have on average increased over the last two decades despite a break in global shipping growth in 2020 due to COVID-19. And, while there have been efforts to reduce these emissions through measures like refurbishing ships to improve fuel efficiency, more action in this area is needed to meet global climate goals. To achieve net zero emissions by 2030, a nearly 15 percent reduction in international shipping emissions is needed.  

Since the Green Shipping Challenge was launched last year, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), published its new strategy with a target to hit net zero “by or around” 2050 depending on “national circumstances”. This internationally recognised target will spur further action in tackling emissions from shipping vessels.

A recent Ocean Panel-commissioned report, identified decarbonising shipping as a key component of seven ocean-based climate sub-sectors that together could deliver up to 35% of the annual emission cuts needed by 2050 to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.   

In his closing remarks at this year’s Green Shipping Challenge event, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre praised the announcements made by those participating in the initiatives, particularly the private companies stating, “this is not about competition but about collaboration” … “[we need to] build the infrastructure upon which you will compete”. 

This year’s event saw multiple new announcements from countries and private partners that further the goal of the Challenge, they included: 

Green Shipping Corridors 

  • USA announced partnership with UK, Canada, and the Republic of Korea to form Green Shipping Corridors for major trade routes. 
  • USA and Korea – carrying out feasibility studies on using green ethanol or ammonia to power ships on selected routes. 
  • Namibia – Green Hydrogen Program will develop Green Corridors with Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping. 
  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen – committed to developing the first green corridor by 2027 including land and sea transportation. 
  • Japan – enhanced efforts towards developing Green Shipping Corridors, including development and introduction of zero-emission ships and Carbon Neutral Port Initiative which includes amending Japan’s Port and Harbour act, implementing a system to visualise port decarbonisation efforts and conducting demonstration projects with new hydrogen technologies other new energy sources to ports. 
  • UK – Bilateral green shipping corridors agreements including International Green Corridor Fund with the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, and the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors. 
  • Chile – Chilean Green Corridor Pre-Feasibility Study has been finalised, feasibility studies now in progress. 

Regulatory and Commitment Progress 

  • Norway – announced their concrete mandate to reach net zero shipping emissions in various domestic sectors by 2024. 
  • Australia – announces a Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan. 

Alternative Fuels and Vessels Progress 

  • USA – Department of Energy invests $7 billion in hydrogen hubs across the country, working with several ports to unlock maritime decarbonisation. 
  • Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (Fiji, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tongo, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) – retrofitting/replacing >11 000 vessels in the 7-member countries. 
  • France –announced $800 million towards green shipping innovation, and the creation of a $1.2 billion public-private investment fund as part of the future national Maritime decarbonisation Roadmap, including $500 million of public funding, and currently $200 million from CMA CGM to go towards investments in port infrastructures, production of sustainable marine fuels, retrofitting and replacing current ships, and decarbonisation of government fleet. 
  • Höegh Autoliners (Norway) investing $1.2 billion in building 12 new net-zero ammonia carriers known as the Aurora Class. The first vessel expected to run on clean ammonia in 2027. Working with Yara (fuel provider) and Hyundai (producer of ammonia engine).  
  • A.P. Moller-Maesk –announced green methanol offtake agreement of 500 000 tonnes for 12 large dual-fuel newbuildings, aiming for 180 green-fuel vessels next year. By 2030 projected to need 21 million tonnes of green fuel. 
  • CMA CGM – invested >$15 billion in decarbonising fleet, aiming for 180 vessels capable of using alternative fuels by 2028.  
  • EU + Wallenius Wilhelmsen – testing wind propulsion at scale, with the aim of developing a full RORO (roll-on, roll-off) vessel being propelled solely by wind power. “Orcelle Wind” vessel set to be launched in 2027. 
  • DP World – investing £250 million into hybrid electric PNO pioneer feeder which decreased fuel consumption by 40%. Investing in 4 methanol powered vessels and on track to reduce emissions by 700 000 tonnes by 2027 as agreed at COP27. 
  • Amazon with IKEA, Patagonia, the Aspen Institute and Tchibo – Zero-Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) coalition announced in March, with the aim to accelerate commercial deployment of zero-emission (ZE) shipping, enable economies of scale, and help minimize maritime emissions. September 2023, announced Request for Proposals (RfP) for ZE shipping services to be delivered by 2025, through this seeking ocean shipping services powered by ZE fuels for 600,000 20 foot contained over a three year period. 

Decarbonisation of Developing Countries 

  • Norway investing $19 million between 2024-2030 to Green Voyage 2050 (partnership with IMO to fund developing countries transition to a cleaner shipping sector). 
  • Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (Fiji, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tongo, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) set up to align sea transport to reach broader 2050 net-zero emissions targets (decrease emissions by 40% in 2030, 80% by 2040, and 100% by 2050). 
  • UK –support of developing countries to deliver the 2023 IMO GHGStrategy – £150,000 to IMO Voluntary multi-donar trust fund to support attendance to IMO GHG meetings, and £100,000 to IMO’s GHG Technical Cooperation Trust Fund. 


For the full list of Green Shipping Challenge announcements visit: https://greenshippingchallenge.org/announcements/ 

Watch the COP28 Event Recording

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