VIDEO: Shell research prioritizes five solutions for shipping decarbonization

Written by Nick Blenkey
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A report released by Shell today makes it clear that, even as the shipping sector deals with the impact of COVID-19, decarbonization of the industry remains a high priority.

The “Decarbonizing Shipping: All Hands on Deck” report results from joint research by Shell, Deloitte Netherlands and Deloitte U.K. and is based on interviews with 82 senior shipping executives from 22 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. Participants included customers, shipowners, shipbuilders, operators, charterers, port authorities, regulators, technology providers and financiers.

The report presents a roadmap of solutions to help the industry meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) ambition to reduce carbon emissions.

“We know that shipping is one of the harder sectors to decarbonize, which is why we are working with our customers and the wider industry to identify possible solutions,’’ said Huibert Vigeveno, Downstream Director of Shell. “This report shows the urgent effort required by industry to reduce carbon emissions. It stems from Shell’s own ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner. To achieve that, we need to work with our customers.”

An overwhelming 95% of shipping executives interviewed view decarbonization as important or a top-three priority and nearly 80% noted that its importance had increased significantly over the past 18 months.

85% of interviewees saw market and customer demand as a major factor driving change towards decarbonization.

80% of interviewees saw technology alignment as a major factor in making decarbonization feasible

65% of interviewees saw ease of replacing infrastructure as a major factor in being able to make change happen at speed and scale.

“While shipping leaders are rightly focused on the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our research shows that they still have their sights on the horizon and identify decarbonizing shipping as a top priority,” said Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President Shell Shipping & Maritime, adding that the research “identified the barriers the industry faces, solutions that will drive progress, and how we can work to help accelerate change. We want to catalyze progress towards a net-zero emissions shipping industry and working together will be crucial to implementing these solutions.”

The report presents a consolidated roadmap of how to accelerate decarbonization of the shipping sector. It prioritizes five solutions to be implemented over the next two to three years that could speed up progress:

1) Scale up customer demand: create scale in demand for zero-emission shipping through charterer’s commitments such as long-term contracts and green procurement criteria.

2) Global regulatory alignment: create a level playing field by aligning decarbonization targets and timelines between the IMO and major local regulatory bodies.

3) Cross-sector R&D: accelerate company partnering to develop a zero or low-emission fuel through joint research and development (R&D) across shipping, onshore sectors in which change is hard to achieve and the energy industry.

4) Scale up controlled pilot projects: accelerate R&D by running end-to-end green pilot projects involving charterers, operators, owners and ports on specific routes and vessel types.

5) Coordinated industry commitment: increase the reach of existing initiatives and implement independent coordination mechanisms to choreograph action and areas of responsibility.

In addition, operational efficiency, is identified as the foundation for the transition process, enabling reduced emissions from the current fleet through accelerated implementation of operational measures. This includes fuel and lubricant quality, digitalization, and the use of data and smart navigation strategies.

Other solutions identified in the report would follow to increase the scale of the change.

Download the “Decarbonizing Shipping: All Hands on Deck” report HERE

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