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Shipping groups want action on $5B fund for zero-emission fuels, tech

'Thoroughly developed’ fund would be available to all nations equitably, organizations say

Eight international shipowner associations representing more than 90% of the world’s merchant fleet are calling on governments to act on shipping-related climate commitments. 

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has a target to reduce the shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050.

That’s less than 30 years to fundamentally change how the world moves 90% of its traded goods.

The shipping organizations said on Friday the time to act is now and jointly called for action on a $5 billion research and development (R&D) fund program to promote the development and adoption of zero-emission shipping fuels and technologies. 

“We urgently need to expand and accelerate R&D around zero-carbon technologies and fuels. But innovation does not come for free. To catalyze innovation, the industry is willing to provide guaranteed funding of 5 billion USD at no cost to governments, giving all nations equitable access to the work and the technologies the fund advances. So, what are we waiting for?” the industry organizations said in a news release.

The details

Proposed funds $5 billion
Purpose of the R&D funds“To accelerate the development and introduction of zero-emission technologies and fuels for maritime transport.”
Proposed IMO-supervised program International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB)
International shipping associations advocating for the proposal’s approvalBIMCO, CLIA, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, IPTA and World Shipping Council
When and where decisions could be madeThe organizations urged governments to approve the amendments to Annex 6 of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting in November.

The $5 billion would be collected over a 10-year period from pricing every ship $2 per ton of fuel consumed, according to the release.

It said the IMRB would be subject to IMO oversight, and other stakeholders, such as R&D institutions, energy suppliers and technology companies “would be welcome to participate and contribute to the IMRB and its work.”

The IMRB is expected to “work itself out of a job” in 10 to 15 years after conducting R&D projects that give companies the jump-start needed to deliver proven low- and zero-carbon fuels and technologies in the 2030s. 

“The R&D fund has been thoroughly developed over the past three years. It is the only concrete proposal on the table and can be agreed and put in place by 2023. Governments rightly call for innovation and for decarbonization to happen now. This is now, and we need IMO member states to move forward and allow us to accelerate the R&D needed without further delay,” the shipowner associations said.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.