Shell study identifies five priorities for shipping decarbonisation

Huibert Vigeveno, Downstream Director of Shell. (Image courtesy of Shell, copyright Ed Robinson)Huibert Vigeveno, Downstream Director of Shell. (Image courtesy of Shell, copyright Ed Robinson)

A Shell study launched today is proposing a roadmap of solutions to help the industry meet the IMO’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions. The study, which was jointly produced with Deloitte Netherlands and Deloitte UK, drew on interviews with senior shipping executives to identify industry priorities on decarbonising the shipping sector.

“We know that shipping is one of the harder sectors to decarbonise, 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.”

The report is based on in-depth interviews with over 80 senior shipping executives across Europe, Asia and North America. While almost all the shipping executives interviewed identified decarbonisation as important or a top three priority, 80% noted that its importance had increased significantly over the past 18 months. 

The interviewees also identified a number of drivers, including market and customer demand, and technology alignment, as well as barriers such as the need to replace infrastructure.

Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President Shell Shipping & Maritime, said “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 decarbonising shipping as a top priority. The research identified the barriers the industry faces, solutions that will drive progress and how we can work together to accelerate change.”

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

  • 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.
  • Global regulatory alignment: create a level playing field by aligning decarbonisation targets and timelines between the IMO and major local regulatory bodies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, digitalisation, and the use of data and smart navigation strategies.

The report can be downloaded here

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