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Decarbonizing Shipping: All Hands on Deck

An industry perspective

Decarbonization has become a global imperative and a priority for governments, companies and society at large which, in turn, are making commitments and increasing efforts to close the gap to net-zero emissions. To realise the ambition, progress needs to be made particularly in the harder-to-abate industries – industries that have long asset lifespans, high energy dependency, and complexity of electrification – which represent 30 percent of global CO2 emissions.

The shipping paradox

One of these harder-to-abate industries is shipping, which is considered to be the backbone of our economy accounting for about 80 percent of the volume of global trade. Never more so than in the recent months have we understood the importance of shipping to maintain the supply of essential goods. However, as the industry’s development continues, it generates increasing carbon emissions.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set an ambition to reduce international shipping carbon emissions per transport work by at least 40 percent by 2030, and 70 percent by 2050, off 2008 baseline. These ambitions send a signal to the shipping industry that change is coming and all parties involved need to prepare.

The roadmap to decarbonization

Working closely with industry leaders, Deloitte Netherlands and Deloitte UK have collaborated with Shell to explore industry insights on how to accelerate shipping decarbonization, the challenges to zero emissions and what the industry as a whole can do to achieve the IMO’s ambitions. Drawing from conversations with 80 senior shipping executives representing 22 countries and virtually all sector segments,"All Hands on Deck" summarizes key findings to unlock decarbonization in shipping and aims to build on existing industry initiatives, drive action and realize positive impact.

The research recognises the need for a novel decarbonization approach that is based on three principles: adopt an ecosystem perspective, think big, start small and scale fast and focus on behaviours and triggers. Based on these three principles, this report highlights 12 solutions, or recommendations for action, that emerged from research, interviews and workshops. These solutions streamline what some view as an insurmountable problem into several manageable sets of actions that address specific barriers and enable the industry to get net-zero ships in the water by 2030.

The first five solutions aim to unlock progress in the next two to three years, and these are: scale-up in customer demand, global regulatory alignment, cross-sector research and development, scale-up in controlled pilot projects, and coordinated industry commitments. Subsequent phases of work will be required to accelerate and scale progress, with a common foundational operational efficiency solution that cuts through all the phases to reduce emissions of both existing and future vessels.

The opportunity for the industry to break the deadlock is clear and there is little time to lose if it is to meet the IMO 2050 ambition. Momentum is building, and there is a sense of optimism that it can be done. Those who take the lead are in a better position to influence the outcomes, but every operator and stakeholder in the industry has a role to play. As one CEO said, we need “all hands on deck.”

To learn more download the All Hands on Deck report available on Shell's website.

The decarbonization of shipping cannot be solved by one organisation on its own. This research clearly shows that it will require close collaboration between various players in the shipping ecosystem and with other sectors. The insights in the research give us a comprehensive perspective on the barriers, and the roadmap to unlock decarbonization by identifying who needs to do what, and when to drive change.

Tarek Helmi, Partner, Deloitte Netherlands

Can shipping navigate to net zero?

Presented by Bryony MacKenzie.

Featuring Knut Orbeck-Nilssen, DNV GL Maritime; Randy Chen, Wan Hai Lines; Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam; Tarek Helmi, Deloitte; Aoife O' Leary, Environmental Defense Fund; Karrie Trauth, Shell Americas.

Shipping is the backbone of global trade, but there is a challenge when it comes to lowering carbon emissions. What will it take to get shipping in to shape? The podcast dives deeper with participants from Shell and Deloitte’s industry research report on shipping decarbonization.

Connected for a new energy future

Energy is the pulse of our day-to-day life and how we create and use it is evolving rapidly. At Deloitte, we understand the opportunities the Future of Energy brings and the importance of connecting ecosystem players, innovators, regulators and thought leaders to create a new energy world that is sustainable and abundant. In collaboration with Shell and working closely with many leaders of the shipping industry, Deloitte explores the promise of decarbonizing the Shipping industry. We truly believe that as ecosystem players connect and adopt the right mind-set, the positive impact we make can be accelerated.

This report was produced in collaboration with Shell.