The tenth London International Shipping Week (LISW) commenced with panel discussions and networking sessions focusing on the decarbonization of the shipping industry. Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO of Maritime UK, emphasized the need for collaboration between stakeholders and the government to make progress in decarbonization. However, the challenge of financing the switch to more expensive green fuels remained a concern, with stakeholders agreeing that the additional costs would eventually be passed on to consumers. Transparency issues and a lack of trust between carriers and shippers were identified as potential hindrances to progress in the industry.
Furthermore, tensions between carriers and shippers have escalated as shipping companies enjoyed substantial profits during the pandemic while refusing to engage with shippers or increase freight rates. However, as liner service prices have normalized, shippers have reclaimed bargaining power and are now focused on cost-cutting measures. Shipping companies, on the other hand, have been unwilling to pay more for greener services, frustrating feeder operators who have suggested environmentally friendly options.
Panel discussions during the event emphasized the need for more regulation to accelerate the decarbonization process. It was acknowledged that the message of decarbonization is not effectively communicated to those outside the industry, and progress may be too slow without regulations similar to the IMO 2020 sulfur cap. Overall, the event shed light on the challenges and opportunities in decarbonizing the shipping industry.