World’s maritime leaders align to support decarbonization

The secretary-general of IMO, Kitack Lim addressed maritime leaders at the Global Maritime Forum in Hong Kong

Today the Global Maritime Forum held in Hong Kong played host to some 34 industry leaders from across the world as they signed an urgent call for action in eliminating carbon from the sector.

To achieve this objective the maritime industry will have to accelerate both technological and business model innovation, further improve operational and technical energy efficiency, and transition to zero-carbon fuels and new propulsion systems.

The signatories claim to support the scientific rationale for urgent action presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Maritime Organization’s greenhouse gas studies. Together, they emphasized the need to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and for the maritime industry to phase out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

“Global seaborne trade’s transition to a low-carbon future will propel both technological and business model innovation. The right incentives for accelerated investment into R&D can only come about if we get a global IMO based regulation. We invite stakeholders from the entire maritime spectrum to join us on this new journey,” said Claus Hemmingsen, Vice CEO of AP Moller – Maersk

Emissions reduction objectives should be met at the lowest possible cost, the group of industry leaders said. And the acceleration to the use of low-carbon technologies and fuels will require significant funding flows for research and development. The industry should explore the use of carbon pricing and other mechanisms that can create economic value from greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The group further agreed that the maritime industry’s greenhouse gas reductions should be in line with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. This will require absolute reductions in carbon emissions to accommodate the expected growth in global trade. Research from Lloyd’s Register and University Maritime Advisory Services indicates that there is no time to waste.

“An ambitious strategy consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals will require zero emission vessels to be entering the fleet in 2030 and form a significant proportion of newbuilds from then on. Different solutions have different benefits for different types of ships, it is important that solutions are not only viable from a commercial perspective but are also technically feasible and can be safely adopted and operated,” said Alastair Marsh, CEO of Lloyd’s Register.

The initial greenhouse gas strategy adopted by member states of the UN International Maritime Organization in April 2018 constitutes a crucial step on the long road towards climate-friendly seaborne trade. It has the full support of the signature CEO’s. They stress that legally binding, member countries to compel the industry to shift must enforce enforceable actions set by the IMO and they are committed to work together with the IMO to make the strategy a success.

“In 2018, the IMO took a leap forward by announcing the ambitious goal to reduce industry emissions by 50% by 2050. Today we welcome this public commitment to decarbonization by industry leadership. It is now essential that industry CEOs support that ambitious commitment and follow through with actions that align their organizations with science-based decarbonization targets,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute.

Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill Ocean Transportation agreed:

“The International Maritime Organization has successfully aligned the global maritime industry with the climate change targets set in the Paris Accord. The shipping sector clearly shares a collective responsibility to transform its operations, build new technologies and infrastructure, and make sustainable shipping a reality. The industry is embracing the challenge and working side-by-side to drive progress and find solutions.”

The CEOs are seeking collaborators from across all stakeholders in both the public and private arenas.

“Today we urge our peers from the entire maritime value chain to support decarbonization and work with us to deliver the IMO’s strategic goal of reducing GHG emissions. We encourage all of our customers and suppliers to demonstrate leadership through timely and appropriate action,” said Paul Wogan, CEO of GasLog Ltd.

The call to action in support of decarbonization is already being followed up by concrete action. The Global Maritime Forum is working together with financial institutions, shipowners, Rocky Mountain Institute, and University College London, on a set of principles for the inclusion of climate alignment and climate risk considerations in lending decisions.

At press time, the initial signatory CEOs are below.


  • A.P. Moller – Maersk, Claus Hemmingsen, Vice CEO
  • Amsterdam Trade Bank, Harris Antoniou, Chief Executive Officer
  • Anglo Eastern, Jan Bjorn Hojgaard, Chief Executive Officer
  • Caravel Group, Harry Banga, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, Angela Churie Kallhauge, Head
  • Cargill Ocean Tranportation, Jan Dieleman, President
  • Danish Ship Finance, Erik I. Lassen, Chief Executive Officer
  • Dorian LPG, John Hadjipateras, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • DS Norden, Jan Rindbo, Chief Executive Officer
  • Environmental Defense Fund, Bryony Worthington, Executive Director
  • Euronav, Patrick Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer
  • Fairmont Shipping Ltd., Robert Alexander Ho, Chairman
  • Gaslog, Paul Wogan, Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors
  • Hempel, Henrik Andersen, Chief Executive Officer
  • IRISL – Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, Mohammad Saeidi, Chairman and Managing Director
  • KC Maritime HK Ltd., Vikrant Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer
  • LADOL, Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director
  • Liberian Registry, Scott Bergeron, Chief Executive Officer
  • Lloyd’s Register, Alastair Marsh, CEO
  • Marine Capital Limited, Tony Foster, Chief Executive Officer
  • MISC, Yee Yang Chien, President and Group Chief Executive Officer
  • Maritime Strategies International Ltd., Adam Kent, Managing Director
  • Ocean Network Express Pte., Jeremy Nixon, Chief Executive Officer
  • Pacific Basin, Mats Berglund, Chief Executive Officer
  • Precious Shipping, Khalid Hashim, Managing Director
  • Rocky Mountain Institute, Jules Kortenhorst, Chief Executive Officer
  • Royal Arctic Lione A/S, Verner Hammeken, Chief Executive Officer
  • SKULD, Ståle Hansen, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA), Carleen Lyden Walker, Co-Founder/Executive Director
  • SEACOR Holdings Inc., Charles Fabrikant, Chairman and CEO
  • The Ocean Council, Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO
  • Trafigura, Jeremy Weir, Chief Executive Officer
  • University College London, Tristan Smith, Reader in Energy and Shipping
  • V.Group, Ian El-Mokadem, Chief Executive Officer

The Global Maritime Forum is an international not-for-profit foundation committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing.

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