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COP26: Industry calls for global ambition on the decarbonisation of shipping, with EU taking strong leadership


26 Oct 2021



Brussels, 26 October 2021 – In a roundtable event (‘Greener shipping: realising a global ambition’) organised on 25th of October, several members of the European institutions and industry leaders from the shipping sector discussed the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.

Progressist industry leaders of the Getting to Zero Coalition stress that full decarbonisation of international shipping is urgent and achievable. Governments and international regulators must deliver the policies that will supercharge the transition and make zero emission shipping the default choice by 2030. They call upon the EU to carry this message loud and clear during the upcoming COP26 and implement it in the respective regulatory and legislative proposal included in the Fit for 55 climate package. The participants to the roundtable event shared perspectives on how the decarbonisation of shipping can be achieved: 

MEP Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA) commented : “The Commission’s Fit for 55 proposals, and the FuelEU Maritime initiative in particular, provide a useful starting point for discussion, but they are not ambitious enough to reach the Paris agreement goals.  We need a framework that creates sufficient space for innovation and at the same time ensures a fast and complete phase-out of fossil fuels in the shipping sector. Only an open, technology neutral approach, in combination with an honest debate on carbon-based fuels, will get us where we want to be.”

Faïg Abbasov, Shipping Programme Director at Transport & Environment (T&E), said: "EU plans to apply carbon pricing to shipping and mandate alternative fuels by ships calling at European ports is a crucial moment in making zero-carbon shipping a reality. However, before the proposal becomes a law, member states and the EU Parliament must ensure that this drives sustainable and scalable fuels based on green hydrogen, as opposed to fossil LNG and biofuels. We no longer have the luxury of a transition period. We should avoid repeating the 'technology neutral' mistakes of road transportation, which led to years wasted on the wrong fuels.”

Ludwig Criel, Chairman of the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association, commented: “Never have we seen amongst shipowners and related industries around the globe such a consensus that our industry has to decarbonise globally. The shipping industry is clearly showing its absolute willingness to decarbonise by investing massively in new shipdesigns and technology to achieve zero emission status at the agreed deadlines. We now call for policymakers to accelerate the creation of an enabling regulatory framework to achieve these goals.” 

Christian M. Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers, representing the Getting to Zero Coalition at the event, said: “This is a unique moment for the shipping industry. We are seeing a collective, cross-industry call for regulation. In the Call to Action, over 200 companies and organisations are asking the International Maritime Organisation to commit to decarbonising shipping by 2050 and regulators to deliver the policies needed to decarbonise the industry with speed and scale.”

Rasmus Bach Nielsen, Trafigura’s Global Head of Fuel Decarbonisation, said: “Decarbonising shipping is urgent and achievable if we have a “carbon levy” in a clear and firm regulatory environment. As a global commodities trader, we will not be able to significantly decarbonise unless we have a price on carbon. We have seen significant progress from industry. Now, we need policy makers to step up and take decisions at lightning speed.”

More information

Transport & Environment

T&E is Europe's leading clean transport campaign group. Credibility is our key asset. We are a non-profit organisation and politically independent. We combine the power of robust, science-based evidence and a deep understanding of transport with memorable communications and impactful advocacy.

The Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association

The Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association (RBSA) was founded in 1909 to defend the common interests of all shipowners under the Belgian flag. RBSA serves as a dedicated point-of contact for politicians, public services and other parties concerned who seek advice about all shipping-related issues or who want to learn how shipping can support world trade even better.

Getting to Zero Coalition

The Getting to Zero Coalition is a powerful alliance of more than 150 companies within the maritime, energy, infrastructure and finance sectors, supported by key governments and IGOs. The Coalition is committed to getting commercially viable deep sea zero emission vessels powered by zero emission fuels into operation by 2030 – maritime shipping’s moon-shot ambition. The Getting to Zero Coalition is a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum.


Founded in 1993, Trafigura is one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world. Trafigura sources, stores, transports and delivers a range of raw materials (including oil and refined products and metals and minerals) to clients around the world and has recently established a power and renewables trading division.