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On 21 April 2021, at a media conference held during Singapore Maritime Week 2021, the International Advisory Panel on Maritime Decarbonisation launched its report containing its recommendations to guide a coordinated global effort within the maritime community to combat climate change. The report outlines various collaborative initiatives and suggested pathways to decarbonisation, including policy options for key industry players to facilitate the development of new solutions to accelerate change.

Authors: Richard Lovell Catriona Casha

The global move towards decarbonisation

In April 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted an ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy, with a vision to decarbonise the shipping industry, including:

  • A reduction in carbon intensity of at least 40 per cent by 2030 and 70 per cent by 2050
  • A minimum 50 per cent reduction in total GHG emissions by 2050
  • The implementation of a zero-emissions policy as soon as possible within this century

The global push that the maritime industry has been making towards alternative fuel sources is becoming increasingly evident. Navig8 and the participant companies in the ‘Castor Initiative’ have already invested heavily in new eco-friendly alternatives such as hydrogen cell technology and ammonia, while others such as Cargill, Louis Dreyfus and Mitsui OSK Lines have focused on revolutionising more traditional alternatives such as wind power.

Decarbonisation in Singapore and the IAP

The topic of sustainability, not surprisingly, has held centre stage at this year’s Singapore Maritime Week, which has focused on the issue of decarbonisation through a number of dedicated presentations and panel sessions.

As a leading international maritime hub, Singapore is well-placed to play a key role, not only in meeting, but in exceeding, the IMO’s 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation goals, through the development of new fuels, innovative solutions and efficiency measures.

Widely known for its proactive and innovative approach to developments in the maritime industry, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), with the support of the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore, formed the International Advisory Panel on Maritime Decarbonisation (IAP) in July 2020, in order to work together and produce recommendations aimed at accelerating the process of decarbonisation in the maritime sector. The IAP is made up of 30 selected industry leaders from both Singapore and overseas. The bodies represented on the panel include BW Group, Ocean Network Express, DNV, Sembcorp Marine, Maersk, MPA, SMF, the Singapore Shipping Association, the International Group, Cargill, Shell, Eastern Pacific, Wartsila, MISC and the International Chamber of Shipping.

The IAP is co-chaired by Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao (chairman also of the SMF and BW Group) and Mr Wong Weng Sun (CEO of Sembcorp Marine). Both have been highly active and vocal proponents of decarbonisation and very much at the forefront of the maritime industry’s drive against climate change. They have long advocated the development of Singapore as a global hub for decarbonisation – very much in line with the government’s wider initiatives to reduce Singapore’s carbon footprint and promote sustainability in all areas of its economy. These are already well underway as evidenced by the government’s recently announced ‘Singapore Green Plan 2030’.