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Global framework needed for improved maritime sector – IMO General Secretary

Economy Green Shipping

Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), says for the maritime industry to strive for green shipping amidst mounting climate shocks, a comprehensive global framework for the maritime sector was needed.

He said that integration was needed to enhance critical functions as a necessary catalyst to unlocking new opportunities, requiring coordinated actions for a resilient maritime sector.

The IMO General Secretary, speaking at a two-day Green Shipping conference in Accra, said as the world united to fight climate change, the biggest challenge facing shipping was reducing its GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

The objective of the conference, in partnership with the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the IMO and the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA), threw light on the future of Green Shipping in Africa and to examine ways African countries could contribute to IMO negotiations on regulations.

The conference discussed Global Green Transition as well as opportunities and benefits for Africa based on IMO’s agenda of Seizing Opportunities for Developing Countries in the provision of “Zero-Carbon Fuels” for global shipping.

Mr Lim said, the next five months were crucial to ensure that the IMO showcased its global leadership towards efforts to decarbonise shipping, explaining that: “We must lead the way and provide a global framework for the maritime industry to strive for green shipping and at the same time ensure we leave no one behind.”

He said decarbonization presented challenges for many developing countries, adding that the IMO was committed to examining and addressing the impact of the measures in making strides while supporting Member States to unlock the potential that green shipping presents.

In dealing with the future challenges, he noted that IMO Member States were currently actively engaged in the process of revising the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emission from ships, adopted in 2018.

“We will see the adoption of an upgraded strategy this year during the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC80) session in July,” he said, adding that the revised GHG Strategy would set the framework in supporting decarbonising shipping.

The General Secretary explained that it would spur new opportunities for Africa, particularly in renewable fuel production, but also from retrofitting ships and digitizing port operations.

Mr Kweku Ofori Asiamah, Minister of Transport, said green transition was gaining traction in Africa as several African countries had recognised the potential of a green economy.

All 54 African countries had signed the Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union Development Goals envisages green economies in Africa.

The Minister said COP 27 in Egypt recognised the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient, by accelerating clean and just transitions to renewable energy during critical decades of action.

To achieve this goal, Mr Asiamah said, the shipping sector needed to play its role in the global decarbonisation and energy transition as the shipping sector alone emitted two to three per cent of the annual global GHG and most ships in operation were powered by fossil fuels.

He reiterated the call for stronger international shipping regulations and policies to achieve climate and health targets by jointly reducing greenhouse gases and that there was an urgent need to apply measures that would facilitate shipping transition and reduce emissions.

Particularly, he stated that regulatory interventions would encourage the production of alternative low and zero carbon fuels for shipping and the related necessary expansion of renewable energy production as well as support first movers.

Mr Thomas Alonsi, Director General, Ghana Maritime Authority, expressed confidence that the conference would provide the much-needed roadmap towards the use of cleaner fuels for shipping in Africa.

He said it would provide an opportunity to deliberate on the prospects of green shipping in the African context and potential to unlock renewable energy and infrastructure investment in developing countries.

He said as the Maritime Industry forged ahead in its quest to attain a zero-carbon society, there was a need for cleaner fuels and its associated technologies.

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