Green shipping takes center stage: COP28 witnesses major collaboration

In a significant development at the ongoing COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the push for green shipping corridors received a major boost as the U.S., Denmark, and the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center pledged to collaborate in establishing Global South Green Corridors.

This announcement coincided with the unveiling of plans for the latest green corridor initiative, aligning with the release of the 2023 Annual Progress Report on Green Shipping Corridor by the Global Maritime Forum on behalf of Getting to Zero Coalition. The report indicates a doubling of green corridor initiatives globally, from 21 to 44 in the last year, projecting 2024 as a pivotal year for green corridors with increased governmental and industry efforts.

Jesse Fahnestock, the Global Maritime Forum’s project director for decarbonization, acknowledged the positive growth but also highlighted emerging challenges as the green corridors move closer to implementation.

While current green corridor plans predominantly focus on ports in the global north, the new project aims to include developing countries. As part of the plan, pre-feasibility studies will be conducted in Namibia, Panama, Fiji, and two more countries to be announced soon.

Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of Maersk McKinney-Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, expressed excitement about the partnership, emphasizing the need for a global transition that is inclusive, just, and equitable.

Denmark’s Minister of Industry, Business, and Financial Affairs, Morten Bødskov, stressed the importance of global collaboration to transition container ships to new fuels, citing the partnership as a prime example of driving the green transition at sea.

Anne Steffensen, CEO of Danish Shipping, lauded the Global South Green Corridors project as a brilliant initiative that will assist countries in the Global South in making sustainable contributions to achieving climate-neutral shipping.

However, the Annual Progress Report on Green Shipping Corridor highlighted challenges in implementing green corridors, including the need for key fuel decisions. The report noted the maritime industry’s indecision on the next future green shipping fuel, impacting green corridor planning.

Customer demand for green corridors remains low, with only five initiatives incorporating cargo owners. The report highlighted the assumption by most cargo owners of additional costs associated with green shipping. Without a level playing field established through global or regional policies, the report suggests that first-movers are poised to bear most of the risks.

Despite these challenges, the report concludes that government support for green corridors is rising. Eighteen governments are now directly involved in the initiatives two years after the concept was adopted at the COP26 conference.

Several projects have completed key planning steps toward the launch of the first corridors, with a focus on key ports and regions. The latest announcement instills confidence that support will extend to developing countries that might otherwise be left behind in these efforts.

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