Opportunities in maritime decarbonization in Asia and Pacific
How the decarbonization of maritime transport in Asia and the Pacific can unlock opportunities and investments across the maritime value chain was at the heart of a Green Shipping conference in Manila, Philippines (16-17 May).
Under the theme “Seizing opportunities for Green Shipping in Asia and the Pacific”, the conference provided a forum for over 100 key maritime stakeholders from 20 Pacific Islands and Southeast Asian States (including ASEAN Member States) to discuss the decarbonization of international shipping.
Key drivers of change include an ambitious and global regulatory framework put in place by IMO addressing energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction; development of new low-carbon fuels and technologies; and investments in renewable energy and port infrastructure.
Opening the Conference, IMO Secretary-General stressed the importance of collaboration and cooperation: “Here in the Philippines, and across the region represented by 20 Member States in this event, there is a strong willingness and commitment to work with all stakeholders to explore and make a push towards renewable energy, to ensure that maritime transport benefits from the relevant investment and technology transfer, and that the workforce of the future is equipped for this vital transition. Knowledge sharing is critical to the attainment of our common objectives. We can all learn from each other. And IMO is ready to support this process. The cooperation and dialogue that is the trademark of IMO be more important than ever.”
Mr. Roel Hoenders, Head of Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency of IMO, presented IMO’s latest energy efficiency regulations (EEXI and CII) and state-of-play in the revision of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy and the development of a basket of mid-term GHG reduction measures and associated impact assessment.
Maritime transport is critical for the region, which has many island States, with vast sea distances covered by ships transporting vital goods as well as passengers. Participants identified that new ways of working together, especially between the public-private sector and between developed and developing countries, were crucial for the green transition. Amongst the delegates were key decision-makers and senior advisers from Asia and the Pacific, leading business representatives from the maritime value-chain, ship-owners and operators to cargo owners, ports, energy producers and financial institutions, development banks, academia and civil society.
Expectations with regards to the revision of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy and the development of IMO’s mid-term GHG reduction measures, including technical and economic elements, were discussed, in a programme of high-level in-person panels and interactive sessions.
The panel sessions addressed opportunities and challenges in terms of unlocking finance for port infrastructure, renewable energy production, training and skills development of seafarers, including re-skilling for “green” jobs in the maritime sector as well as job generation and attracting young generations to a low-carbon shipping industry in Asia and the Pacific. The conference participants were apprised of the ongoing IMO-World Bank Study on Energy Efficiency of Domestic Ferries to enhance safety and energy efficiency of domestic passenger ships in the Philippines. The study is set to be completed and published in due course.
Conference participants discussed how to ensure an equitable transition, including by means of additional capacity building and technology cooperation provided through IMO. Also emphasized was the need for further regional and cross-continental cooperation in promoting energy efficient shipping, including through the possible use of future carbon revenues for port bunkering infrastructure, scholarships in renewable energy economics, and possible retrofitting and upgrading of ships in Asia and the Pacific.
The conference aimed to inform discussions during the upcoming meetings of the Intersessional Working Group on Greenhouse Gases (ISWG-GHG 15) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80). The MEPC 80 session in July is set to adopt the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy and further develop the basket of mid-term GHG reduction measures, including the associated analysis of possible impacts on States of economic measures.
The conference was co-organized and co-sponsored by IMO (through IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP)), in collaboration with the Maritime Authorities of the Philippines and Denmark.