• Follow Us On Our Preferred Social Media Platform:

Survey suggests multi-fuel future for shipping industry on path to zero emissions

20 Apr 2023

The Global Maritime Forum, Global Centre for MaritimeDecarbonisation (GCMD), the Mærsk Mc- Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping conducted a survey of 29 shipping companies to understand how industry leaders are thinking about future fuels and their plans to adopt cleaner fuels and efficiency-boosting technologies, according to GCMD on Thursday (20 April). 

The companies surveyed roughly represent 20% of the world’s total fleet capacity; they own and operate container ships, tankers, dry bulkers, gas carriers, car carriers, cruise ships, tugs, and offshore vessels.

Respondents, professionals responsible for the decarbonisation efforts of these organisations, were asked about their plans and projections to adopt cleaner fuels and efficiency boosting technologies.

“As the shipping industry is in a period of experimentation and exploration to understand the implications of adopting different green fuels, surveys like this play a crucial role to inform the industry and public, and support shipping’s transition to a zero-emissions future,’’ Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation said. 

The most striking result from the survey is a multi-fuel future: the need to prepare for fleets operating on three or more fuel ’’families.’’ The most common mix by 2050 represented by 40% of respondents is a fleet concurrently running vessels on fuel oil/biodiesel, methane, methanol, and ammonia—a step-change in fuel diversity.

Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, said, “the industry will need to think strategically about how to operate multi-fuel fleets and green fuels must be introduced in a safe and cost-efficient manner to make them the preferred alternative to current petroleum products.’’

Other findings from the survey suggest that internal combustion engines will remain the preferred technology through 2050, and that the speed of shipping industry’s adoption of alternative fuels will be a function of the cost gap with fossil fuels and the degree of availability of such greener alternatives at ports worldwide.

Ports and bunker suppliers might prioritise the availability of individual fuels in the short term. But in the longer-term, ports that wish to attract the greatest possible number of future vessels should prepare for the need to offer multiple fuel types.

The single most important factor in fuel choice will likely be the rate of decarbonisation required by regulators. Policymakers and regulators can help close the cost gap between green fuels and fossil fuels and create a “level playing field” for all shipping companies to accelerate their adoption of green fuels.

’’To reach zero-emissions by 2050, the industry needs a more ambitious regulatory framework with clear reduction targets and supporting policies to close the cost gap between green fuels and the fossil fuels that current power the global fleet. The sooner there is clarity about targets and policies, and the sooner these come into effect, the easier it will be for companies to develop a view on how to meet the goals. The role of regulators will be crucial in this process, in particular the outcome of the ongoing negotiations at the IMO,” Johannah Christensen, CEO of the Global Maritime Forum, said.

“The survey paints a multi-fuel picture of the industry that is striking. The onus is on each shipping company to develop its own proprietary view of its future fuel mix in line with its business strategy and decarbonisation ambitions,’’ the trio said.

The survey was conducted with analytical support by McKinsey & Company.

Note: Download the report ‘The shipping industry’s fuel choices on the path to net zero’ here.


Photo credit: Global Maritime Forum, GCMD, Mærsk Mc- Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping
Published: 20 April, 2023

Related News

Featured News

Our Industry Partners

PR Newswire