Staying on Course for 1.5: Africa's Role In Accelerating Shipping’s Green Transition

Staying on Course for 1.5: Africa's Role In Accelerating Shipping’s Green Transition

DP World |

COP28 Session Recap

This event brought together key shipping stakeholders to highlight Africa’s central role in the future of green shipping.

“Back in 2015, the notion of global shipping going ahead with decarbonisation sounded far-fetched,” says Magda Kopczyńska, Director General of the Directorate-General Mobility and Transport at the UN’s COP28 session ‘Staying on Course for 1.5: Africa's Role In Accelerating Shipping’s Green Transition’.

But today, after a recently updated International Maritime Organization (IMO) pledge to reach net zero emissions by or around 2050, Kopczyńska believes that a serious commitment to come up with specific measures will make this a reality.

And Africa will have a central role in the future of green shipping, according to the panel of shipping industry experts.

Africa’s natural decarbonising advantages

Africa’s population is the youngest and fastest growing of any continent. The continent also has an abundance of hydrogen, wind, solar and renewable power potential. And both of these factors place Africa in the spotlight as a future beacon of decarbonised shipping. 

There are challenges of course, including boosting collaboration, increasing port capacity, and utilising and developing decarbonising technologies. But action, particularly global collaborative action, will accelerate Africa’s green shipping goals. 

The continent’s shipping goals are also linked with the need to establish a sustainable and resilient maritime industry, and make sure efforts to decarbonise Africa’s shipping industry also tie in with efforts to reduce shipping’s impact on marine ecosystems.

Lydia Ngugi is President of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) for Africa, an EU-funded organisation that looks at aspects of capacity building for climate change mitigation in the shipping and maritime industry. She highlighted the progress achieved so far and called for more cooperation between the global north and south.

Forward-facing companies like DP World are already embracing no- and low-carbon technologies, such as solar panels to power their port and terminal operations, which has slashed emissions. 

These types of decarbonising initiatives sit at the heart of Africa’s green shipping transition, the panel said, and offer a glimpse into the continent’s bright future.

“I think everybody agrees that the decarbonisation efforts that lie ahead of shipping is not just tweaking a little bit here and there, but it's a serious paradigm change when it comes to the type of fuels that shipping will have to use,“ Kopczyńska concluded.