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  • International Chamber of Shipping

New initiative to scale low-carbon fuel production adopted by ministers at global energy summit


Photo: International Chamber of Shipping

The Clean Energy Ministerial adopted the Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative (CEM-Hubs) July 20 at a summit in Goa, India. The first-of-its-kind platform brings together the private sector and governments across the energy-maritime value chain to transform maritime transportation and production hubs for future low-carbon fuels.


The CEM-Hubs initiative is initially backed by Canada, Norway, Panama, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates in partnership with the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Association of Ports and Harbors. The CEM-Hubs initiative is a partnership that’s jointly led by private sector and governments working in close collaboration.


The energy-maritime value chain is far from ready to transport the influx of low-carbon fuels that are expected between now and 2050. To accommodate demand, the shipping industry is expected to transport at least 50 percent of all traded low-carbon fuels by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. But the production centers, vessels and port infrastructure required to accommodate expected demand do not currently exist at commercial scale.


So far only one ship in the whole global fleet has been piloted to transport liquefied hydrogen—traveling from Australia to Japan. For hydrogen derivates such as ammonia and other low-carbon fuels moved by ships, the scale is far from what heavy industries, transport, and other sectors would require. To support the global transition to net-zero targets, shipping is expected to transport between two and up to five times the low-carbon fuels it will consume by 2050. The mix of fuels that shipping moves will also need to change to be aligned to the Paris Agreement.


Participants have convened in Goa, India, for the first-ever CEM-Hubs meeting. The initiative was adopted less than a year after it was first presented, in an unprecedented move by the Clean Energy Ministerial that reflects the immense scale of the problem and urgency to establish solutions. The CEM-Hubs initiative and progress will be featured at the next COP28 in Dubai, UAE.


The initiative is also supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation.


“Ports, shipping and the logistics network need to be an integral part of the global clean-energy transition,” said Jean-François Gagné, head of secretariat for the Clean Energy Ministerial. “The Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative is a truly public-private platform between energy, maritime, shipping and finance communities. It represents a unique opportunity to develop concrete implementable actions to ensure greener supply chains globally.”

Omar Alghabra, Canada’s minister of transport, said, “Canada is pleased to announce its participation as a founding member of the Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative, alongside esteemed partners such as the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Association of Ports and Harbors, and other countries from around the world. This vital initiative will reinforce the pivotal role our ports and marine sector will play in advancing the global energy transition. By facilitating the secure and efficient transportation of new clean-energy resources, including hydrogen, ammonia and renewable diesel produced right here in Canada, we are taking significant steps towards a sustainable future on a global scale.”


Jorge Rivera, Panama’s national energy secretary, commented, “We are very excited about the launching of the Clean Energy Marine Hubs initiative. Without any doubt, this is going to be a turning point in these sustainable initiatives around the world, and the connection between the energy and maritime industries. We expect to have great results in the short, medium and long term.”

Bjørn Højgaard, CEO of Anglo-Eastern, added, “Decarbonization continues to dominate international shipping’s agenda, with alternative fuels playing a critical role in the push to net zero by 2050, as revised at this July’s MEPC 80. While much has been explored and discussed about the environmental and technical aspects of alternative fuels, one key area has received less attention—the logistics of alternative fuels. No solution can stand on its own without the necessary infrastructure to support it, which CEM Hubs is addressing.”


Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, said, “The momentous speed at which the CEM-Hubs initiative has been adopted speaks volumes to not only the scale of the challenge before us and the urgency to act, but also the economic opportunity low-carbon energy production offers—particularly to developing economies. For first movers it presents a golden opportunity to develop an industry that will catalyze economic growth and prosperity and provide energy stability for their citizens.”

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