World leaders from 22 countries, including the U.S., signed on to the Clydebank Declaration during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on Wednesday.
The signatories aim to establish at least six green corridors by the middle of the decade, according to a release.
Green corridors would connect two or more major port hubs where zero-emissions solutions and fuels have been demonstrated and supported. The ports and routes will be chosen based on the potential to scale and accelerate zero-emissions shipping.
“Green corridors could be the tipping point for the development of the green maritime solutions we so desperately need to meet our shipping emissions goals as well as our collective climate goals,” Danish Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht said at COP26 on Thursday.
The declaration’s goal is to have more green corridors and at least 200 zero-emissions vessels utilizing them by 2030, Engelbrecht said.
“We need to set international shipping on an ambitious zero-emission trajectory. To do this, we need commercially viable, zero-emission, oceangoing vessels in the global fleet no later than 2030. Our goal … is for ships capable of running on zero-emission fuels to make up at least 5% of the global deep- sea fleet by 2030,” Engelbrecht said.
The signatories agreed to:
- Establish partnerships with ports, operators and other stakeholders along the supply chain to accelerate decarbonization in the sector and in the shipping fuels supplied.
- Address challenges in building green corridors such as regulations, incentives and infrastructure.
- Consider including green corridor provisions in developments and reviews of national action plans.
- Ensure that sustainability and environmental impacts are taken into account when creating green shipping corridors.
“For zero-emission shipping to be successful, it must be an economically competitive option for companies,” Charis Plakantonaki, chief strategy officer at Star Bulk Carriers Corp., said in the green corridors report released Wednesday.
“Green corridors are trading routes where policy support and collaboration in the industry could ensure that benefits to first movers outweigh the costs and the risks they are taking. We look forward to continued work and engagement with our peers, with governments and with other stakeholders on the development of these corridors,” Plakantonaki continued.
International shipping is responsible for about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the expected increase in demand for shipping could increase shipping-related emissions by 50% by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario, Engelbrecht said.
But transitioning from conventional shipping fuel to low- and zero-carbon alternatives such as e-methanol and green ammonia to reduce GHG emissions is not simple.
What happens if a vessel that can only run on ammonia ends up at a port with no supply of it?
Solving refueling issues for zero-emissions vessels
Having dedicated green corridors could help alleviate concerns that vessels would not be able to access the supply of zero-emission fuel they need to operate when they get to ports for delivery.
A.P. Møller – Maersk entered an agreement in August to build and operate eight dual-fuel vessels that can run on LNG or methanol. The company plans to use carbon-neutral methanol such as e-methanol to fuel the vessels, but it needs access to that fuel at ports. Green corridors could help solve this problem by dedicating ports on major shipping lanes to supply green fuels.
Ocean Conservancy responds
“Ocean Conservancy and Pacific Environment are particularly pleased to see that the Clydebank Declaration signatories agreed to define green shipping corridors as ‘zero-emission maritime routes,’ which was not a given as the concept was negotiated,” an Ocean Conservancy statement said.
“Today’s declaration is a great first step towards cleaning up our ports, port communities and the maritime sector. The cooperation inherent in these green corridor commitments will help pave the way for eliminating emissions from ports and shipping here in the U.S. and internationally,” said Dan Hubbell, shipping emissions campaign manager at the Ocean Conservancy.