The Vital Role of Shipping in Reducing Global GHG Emissions and Contributing to the Circular Economy

The Vital Role of Shipping in Reducing Global GHG Emissions and Contributing to the Circular Economy

DP World |

COP28 Session Recap

How shipping can reduce emissions and contribute to the circular economy.

The panel on 5 December at COP28 discussed the opportunities and challenges unique to North America, covering public-private partnerships, green shipping corridors, and other initiatives. It also focused on ship recycling, in particular, how to deal with end-of-life ships, the regulations surrounding that and how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced along the supply chain.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to decarbonising shipping, said Dr. Leah Dundon, the Director of the Vanderbilt Climate Change Initiative. In North America, ships tend to have a long lifespan and there is a need to incentivise and subsidise a transition to lower-carbon options.

Effective progress can only be achieved with a collaborative, value-chain approach, she said, citing the Blue Sky Maritime Coalition project as an example of a coalition that is focused on these challenges.

“We encounter a lot of companies trying to decarbonise within a silo,” Dundon told delegates. “But if you don't decarbonise the whole system that they're dependent on, you're not going to get there.”

Working together

The Blue Sky Maritime Coalition – which focuses on the decarbonisation of waterborne transportation in the US and Canada – looks at the whole value chain, Jennifer States, the Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, told delegates.

Challenges include maritime inefficiencies, siloed approaches, the lack of accurate emissions inventories, and diverse operational profiles, she said. She advocated the use of technology, support for pilot projects, and better regulatory processes as ways to speed up progress.

Panos Koutsourakis, Vice President of Global Sustainability at ABS, emphasised the need to increase supply of lower or zero-carbon fuels since the energy demand for shipping is projected to increase by 30-40% by 2050.

Role of recycling

The second part of the panel focused on the importance of ship recycling in the context of emissions reductions.

BIMCO’s Manager of Intergovernmental Engagement, Gudrun Janssens, said a global regulatory framework for recycling ships is needed and that demand for ship recycling capacity is only going to increase.

Jon Alonso, from the International Maritime Organization, said his organisation’s focus is on preparing countries to accede to the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling. Susan Wingfield, Basel Secretariat, also stressed the rising number of ships that need to be recycled, in the next 10 years, will be as many as 15,000.

The Basel Convention is vital for ship recycling, she said, because it promotes the production of recycled or green steel and emphasises the removal of hazardous materials during the recycling process.