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A new report from Lloyd’s Register (LR) has called for ‘immediate action on maritime decarbonisation’ in order to prevent future supply chain interruptions and minimise disruption to the ‘backbone of world trade’. 

Drawing views from ‘leaders across the supply chain, the report - entitled How To Make Shipping’s Decade of Action a Reality – said that transition to zero-carbon shipping will be ‘among the most significant in the sector’s history’.

However, LR warned that: 'A lack of regulatory certainty and support from policymakers could see a rushed and uncoordinated transition, potentially leading to significant supply chain disruption.’ 

NLR Chief Executive Nick Brown commented: ‘Our industry is no longer asking “if” or “when” decarbonisation should take place. We know we must act now and many of us are. The question that remains is “how” will the maritime industry deliver meaningful change during this crucial decade of action. 

‘This report brings together expert views and insights from the public and private sector on what the global maritime industry needs to do to make this decade of change a reality. The challenge is immense, but the commitment is real, from many organisations and governments. Everyone involved in the maritime supply chain must play their part.’

As one might expect, the LR study found consensus among maritime experts that shipping companies, their customers, and governments, need to work together on global solutions before the urgency of the climate crisis forces the sector into disruptive and fragmented changes.

For example, Jim Barry, chief investment officer, BlackRock Alternatives Investors, said: ’The natural instinct of any industry will be to look to defer regulation, "How long can I drag it out?" That's the wrong instinct today and it’s not going to work this time because the climate is changing. There's no ambiguity on that. The cost of this transition will be less the sooner you get your head around the future roadmap and the sooner you begin the adjustment.’

Contributors to the report also called for greater global regulation of shipping to head off what LR described as ‘the emergence of inconsistent national policies’.  

The report also flagged up the importance of infrastructure and the availability of the new alternative shipping fuels.

Katharine Palmer, shipping lead, UNFCC High-Level Climate Champions, said: ‘The pace of change required needs to be ramped up. This is a climate crisis which requires an urgent response. The momentum is building, commitments are being made, the understanding of the transformation needed across the maritime system is there. We now need everyone to mobilise and convert understanding, awareness and commitment into action.’

The report noted that ‘consumers, investors, and governments [are] increasingly demanding zero-carbon solutions from the private sector – and shipping will have to meet these demands'.

‘If you cannot offer a "green" product, you will lose business – it is an absolute requirement,’ said Lindsay Zingg, senior director of sustainability at DSV Panalpina. ‘Our customers are constantly asking what we can do to lower CO2, and we will launch our green logistics programme later this year. Customers push us, we push our suppliers, and we will make a difference.’

Click here to access the LR report.

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