Speaker: Maritime industry needs to make “huge changes”

Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, offers CIMAC Congress keynote

Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, was the keynote speaker at this year’s CIMAC Congress, held in Busan, South Korea.

The maritime industry has done much to reduce carbon emissions, but the sector faces more challenges on the way to Net Zero goals, said Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a nonprofit research and development center looking to accelerate the transition towards a net-zero future for the maritime industry. 

“The thing is that shipping is so attractive for the global economy and such an integrated part of it, that it keeps growing, and therefore also the emissions from shipping keep growing,” said Cerrup-Simonsen, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s CIMAC Congress. “ So we’re looking at a situation where the emissions from shipping can be expected to grow if we don’t make some huge changes.”

He first pointed to increased efficiency, saying that large reductions in emissions can be achieved by implementing better energy efficiency across the global maritime industry. He said that many companies have taken energy efficiency seriously, but large segments have yet to adopt best practices that could help reduce emissions even further.

“But energy efficiency is not going to get us to zero,” he said. “We also need to look at new ways, new primary energy sources to power our fleet. And that is, of course, the new fuels coming. So both energy efficiency and the new fuels are going to require new technologies to be developed, matured, and not least of all, adopted by the global fleet.”

He spoke of two time horizons for reducing emissions, one in 2030 and the other 2050.

In the short term, the industry needs to get technologies ready to scale and to have the financial and commercial and regulatory systems ready to scale. Once the platforms are built, the industry can work on achieving Net Zero goals by 2050. 

“And as you know, the scale of this is enormous,” he said. “So for everybody supplying solutions, whether it’s fuels or technologies,  chips into this, there is just an enormous market waiting ahead.”

Cerup-Simonsen said his organization is poised to help

“Our purpose is to guide and accelerate the decarbonization of the global maritime industry,” he said. “This complex challenge requires unprecedented collaboration across sectors, industries, and geographies. Working with our partners, governments, authorities, public sector bodies, scientists, and organizations across the global maritime industry, we aim to inform, de-risk decision-making, and spark real climate action. We are technology-agnostic and have no vested interest in specific decarbonization solutions. We explore free of commercial considerations and independent of partner strategies.”

The center was founded in 2020 and partners include Alfa Laval, American Bureau of Shipping, A.P. Moller - Maersk, bp, Cargill, CF Industries, Equinor, DP World, Hapag-Lloyd, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsui, NORDEN, NYK Line, Rio Tinto, Royal Caribbean Group, Seaspan Corporation, Siemens Energy, Stolt Tankers, Sumitomo Corporation, Swire Group, Topsoe, TotalEnergies and V.Group.

“We don’t have vested interest in any particular technology, or fuel or cargo type or any country, for that matter. But we’re working with countries and companies that of course, have vested interests that have particular interests they want to see happen in this transition. But we are independent, and our only objective is basically, to find the solutions that are good for the planet.”


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