GMF meeting debates bunker fuel carbon levy and energy transition

Shipping executives at the Global Maritime Forum’s recent virtual meeting were supportive of a global carbon levy – but also saw merit in national and regional schemes which could encourage a global approach.

The meeting brought together around 240 global leaders from across the maritime industry to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector, with Peter Stokes, Chairman of the Global Maritime Forum, commenting: ‘To a greater extent than perhaps ever before, the maritime industry will require productive collaboration between the public and private sectors and across traditionally competitive barriers if it is to contribute fully to reinforcing the resilience of the international supply chain and the preservation of the environment.

‘In doing so, it will be responding to the demands of society at large and demonstrating its sense of global responsibility.’

The imposition of a carbon levy was discussed at the meeting. As previously reported, the European Parliament has given its support to the inclusion of shipping in Europe’s emissions trading system, and this has provoked strong opposition from some quarters of the shipping industry who argue that the introduction of market-based measures to accelerate decarbonisation should be debate and decided on a global level through the agency of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Christian Ingerslev, Chief Executive Officer, Maersk Tankers, expressed the view that: ‘As a parallel to pushing for a global levy through the IMO, we should lean in by showing active support and push for national and regional regulations.’

While Lasse Kristoffersen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Torvald Klaveness, commented: It’s not a question of whether the EU is making the ETS for shipping, it’s a question of how. We need to embrace that, engage in it, and maybe we could structure that mechanism so that it becomes a global one.’

The meeting also considered how shipping should approach the shift to zero emission fuels. It was suggested that if the industry were to aggregate demand for zero emission fuels, this could encourage energy companies to invest in new fuel production facilities, and governments to support the development of the first large scale project.

According to Hugo de Stoop, Chief Executive Officer, Euronav, ‘We should build a coalition of shipowners willing to sign a binding letter of intent conditional only to the price of green fuels to be the same as fossil fuels. That will show a substantial aggregated demand for green fuel infrastructure projects to be started as soon as possible as they will guarantee offtake when the projects are ready.’

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes