Report: 95% of shipping execs see decarbonisation as top-three priority

A new report from Shell and Deloitte has found that 95% of shipping executives interviewed view decarbonisation as important or a top-three priority, and nearly 80% said that its importance had increased significantly over the past 18 months.

  • The other key findings of the report, entitled Decarbonising Shipping: All Hands on Deck, include:
  • 85% of interviewees saw market and customer demand as a major factor driving change towards decarbonisation
  • 80% of interviewees saw technology alignment as a major factor in making decarbonisation feasible
  • 65% of interviewees saw ease of replacing infrastructure as a major factor in being able to make change happen at speed and scale

Huibert Vigeveno, Downstream Director of Shell, commented: ‘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.’

Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President Shell Shipping & Maritime, added: ‘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. In conducting this unique study involving detailed interviews with more than 80 of shipping’s top executives, we have been able to better understand the views of our customers and the broader shipping sector. The research identified the barriers the industry faces, solutions that will drive progress, and how we can work to help accelerate change. We want to catalyse progress towards a net-zero emissions shipping industry and working together will be crucial to implementing these solutions.’

The report, which drew on ‘in-depth interviews’ with senior shipping executives across Europe, Asia and North America, identified five solutions which it said could be implemented over the next two to three years to speed up progress on decarbonisation:

  • 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.

The report also saw ‘operational efficiency’, as ‘the foundation for the transition process, enabling reduced emissions from the current fleet through accelerated implementation of operational measures’.

Download the “Decarbonising Shipping: All Hands on Deck” report at

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes