A new analysis presented at the Global Maritime Forum’s annual summit in Athens has found that the world is falling behind in providing zero-emission fuels for international shipping. The report suggests that current scalable production of zero-emission fuel (SZEF) will only meet a quarter of the fuel needed by 2030, jeopardizing the shipping industry’s decarbonization target for 2050. Furthermore, the delivery of emission-free ships is also lagging, with only 24 ships capable of running on SZEF and a further 144 on order. This represents only a fifth of what is required to achieve medium-term goals. Experts emphasize the need for demand and supply actors to work together to implement solutions.
The shipping industry is responsible for about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. In response, the International Maritime Organization set a greenhouse gas strategy that includes a target of providing zero-emission fuels for 5% of international shipping by 2030. However, the industry should aim to achieve 10% zero-emissions in marine fuels by the end of the decade. To meet these goals, the industry will require significant investments, estimated at around $40 billion annually, in SZEF bunkering and production. The necessary amount of SZEF for 2030 would be approximately 5.3 million tonnes of hydrogen, 29.8 million tonnes of ammonia, or 28.1 million tonnes of methanol.
The report underscores the urgent need for accelerated progress in developing zero-emission fuels for the shipping sector. The current rate of production and delivery of emission-free ships is insufficient to meet the industry’s decarbonization targets. Collaboration between demand and supply actors is crucial in implementing specific solutions that will enable the shipping industry to transition towards a more sustainable future.