$5 billion “moon shot” proposal for shipping decarbonization

Written by Nick Blenkey

Image: IMO

Governments controlling a major share of the world merchant fleet yesterday submitted a “moon shot” proposal to to the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO), calling for the establishment of a $5 billion fund to catalyze the research and development needed to help shipping meet UN decarbonization goals.

The $5 billion IMO Maritime Research Fund would be funded using mandatory contributions from the world’s shipping companies. According to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), those contributions would be in the form a mandatory levy of $2 per ton on marine fuel, generating a core $5 billion over a 10-year period.

The fund would support a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) to commission collaborative programs for the applied research and development R&D of zero-carbon technologies, specifically tailored for maritime application, including development of working prototypes.

It would also assist CO2 reduction projects in developing countries, including Pacific island nations.

The proposal has the backing of nine major shipping organizations: BIMCO, CLIA, IMCA, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, International Chamber of Shipping INTERTANKO, IPTA and World Shipping Council.

The shipping industry is urging all governments to approve this mature moon-shot proposal—led by major shipping nations including Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland—at a critical IMO meeting in London in November 2021, which will coincide with the next UN Climate Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow.

The shipping associations say “this is the only fully detailed proposal available to deliver the speed and scale called for by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres” and that “failure by UN member states to support this initiative could significantly set back progress towards the decarbonization of shipping.”

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