A group of 22 countries has pledged to create emission-free shipping corridors in the coming years to decarbonize maritime transportation.
Named the Clydebank Declaration, the signatories agreed to create at least six seaborne trade lanes where vessels can access zero-emission fuels on a pilot basis by 2025 before scaling up to more and longer routes, or more ships in the same corridors.
“It is our aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030,” they said on 10 November in the declaration issued at the COP26 meeting going on in Glasgow, Scotland. A similar deal, Zero-Emission Shipping Mission (ZESM), was launched by Denmark, Norway, and the US in July this year to put the maritime sector on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The three countries have teamed up with Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and the UK in the Clydebank Declaration.
The target is to put at least 200 zero-emission vessels in operation and have such ships account for 5% of bunker fuel consumption in deep-sea trade globally, before 2030.
During a COP26 side-event, UK Minister for Maritime Robert Courts said governments need to partner with private corporations to initiate pilot projects now for the 2050 goal to be feasible.
“The Clydebank Declaration provides governments with the framework to encourage the establishment of zero-emission shipping routes between their ports,” IHS Markit quotes Courts
Zero-emission bunker fuels will still be 25%-65% more expensive than oil-based fuels in the first green corridors, said Faustine Delasalle, a co-executive director of the World Economic Forum backed Mission Possible Partnership.
Some in the shipping industry welcomed the Clydebank Declaration, saying the initiative could finally kickstart the development of low-carbon bunker supply chains.
“We are so happy to see this green corridor because it provides a platform where everyone can learn as operators and actually collaborate with others,” said Morten Bo Christiansen, head of decarbonization at Danish shipping group AP Moller-Maersk.
During the IMO’s 77th Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting on 22 – 26 November, a joint proposal from the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands to cut shipping emissions to absolute zero by 2050 will be discussed. Costa Rica, Japan, Norway, the UK, and the US will propose a net-zero alternative.
“One of the most important tools that the world has at this moment is the International Maritime Organization. But in the context of the climate crisis, its current level of climate ambition must go further,” US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said during the COP26 on 10 November 2021.