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MSC signs open letter on new fuels to IMO and CEO says “long-term solutions simply do not currently exist”

Mediterranean Shipping Company has joined other carriers in reiterating support for a global R&D decarbonisation fund and also in backing a potential worldwide market-based measure that would include carbon pricing.

In the letter, signed by 17 leading container line operators from around the globe, the authors call on IMO member states to support the establishment of the industry proposed International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) to develop new technologies for decarbonisation. On the matter of fuel levies, the letter makes the point that, “ If carbon pricing is to deliver results, there must be zero-carbon options”.

MSC has issued its own statement which quotes CEO Soren Toft as saying, “Some form of global market-based-measure, incorporating carbon pricing, could help the industry to decarbonise by reducing the price gap between fossil fuels and zero-carbon fuels as they become available. At the same time, despite our huge investments into our fleet and operations, scalable long-term solutions simply do not currently exist for us to deploy on our ships. There is a gap in R&D to bring these alternative fuels and technologies to the market and the industry wide research fund will help us achieve the UN IMO’s policy targets.”

The MSC statement continued. Today, the only commercially available options to significantly reduce emissions from the shipping industry at scale are: improving energy efficiency, LNG and biofuels. While MSC believes that these are crucial elements to consider as part of the energy transition, these options alone will not provide a long-term or full solution. Logistical and technical issues must be solved before new fuels can be scaled up for the shipping industry.

The industry needs a range of alternative fuels at scale and needs them urgently. The main challenges now are to determine the right combination of new fuels and technologies and to implement viable industry-wide proposals to invest in R&D to achieve those goals, and, ultimately, the zero-carbon future.

Decarbonising the shipping industry is a battle we must win. Only with options at scale for commercially-viable low or zero-carbon vessels can carbon pricing be a truly effective tool to catalyse the shift towards a zero-carbon future for international shipping.