A number major shipping nations are backing the maritime industry’s proposal to establish a USD5 billion fund that can be used to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping.

The programme – funded by mandatory contributions from shipping companies amounting to roughly USD2 per tonne of fuel consumed – would support an international maritime research and development board (IMRB) that would commission collaborative programmes for the research and development of zero-carbon technologies. This would include the development of working prototypes and assisting in CO2 reduction projects in developing countries.

The proposal was submitted to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) last week, with backing from all the major shipping associations alongside Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore and Switzerland. The parties are pressing for all governments to approve the “moon-shot” proposal at an IMO meeting in London in November 2021.

The parties argue that since zero-carbon technologies that can be applied at scale to large ocean-going ships are not readily available, a significant acceleration of research and development needs to commence immediately under the supervision of the IMO.

The associations backing this programme are: BIMCO; Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA); International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo); Interferry; International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko); International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA); and the World Shipping Council.