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UMAS evolves to better serve the shipping sector’s decarbonization needs

UMAS, formerly a close collaboration between the UCL Energy Institute shipping research group and UMAS International Ltd., is to take on a new configuration in order to better serve the shipping sector’s needs, as it moves into an era of rapid technological change and development related to decarbonization.


From June 3, UMAS International will operate using the UMAS brand, as a technical-commercial consultancy, independent and distinct from the UCL Energy Institute shipping research group.

“We’re excited to be moving into a new independent phase for UMAS,” said Simon Davies, managing director of UMAS International. “Going forward the brand will represent our focused and applied range of continually evolving services and models that will support the broad range of stakeholders to navigate decarbonization of the shipping, maritime and related energy sectors. UMAS will draw on our rich heritage and past work with a range of partners and will continue to deliver applied solutions for real-world applications. Operating as an independent technical-commercial consultancy UMAS, with a clearly defined purpose to support the decarbonization of the sector, will continue to provide services to optimize the opportunities and minimize the risks the energy transition will present to its clients.”


The UCL Energy Institute shipping research group led by Tristan Smith, associate professor at UCL, originated much of the foundational research that has been built on through academic and commercial collaboration within UMAS for nearly a decade.


The group will focus on further developing its research through an academic lens.


This distinction from a commercial-consultancy activity will ensure that the research group can focus on more fundamental research output, sharing this as transparently as possible in the public domain, and also attending to an increasingly urgent area of working in collaboration with lower-income country institutions in efforts towards a just and equitable transition. 

“UMAS has enjoyed being in the right place at the right time—a fascinating space at the interface between theory, politics and business, as first the case for, and then the rules for shipping decarbonization have been developed,” said Nishatabbas Rehmatulla, principal research fellow and co-lead of the shipping research group at UCL Energy Institute. “Being at that interface gave us unique insights that enriched both the academic and advisory outputs during the development of transition. However, now is absolutely the right time to add clarity and to get ready for what comes next, and these more distinguished purposes are the best way to stay at the leading edge across the areas we will continue to work in.”


The next few years will be pivotal for shipping’s decarbonization.


While multiple levers are already propelling shipping’s transition, next year’s expected finalization and adoption of the International Maritime Organization’s mid-term measures and revision of short-term measures are expected to turbocharge investment decision making, commercial transformations within the sector, as well as the need for independent evaluation, monitoring and scrutiny.


UMAS estimated in earlier analysis that a decarbonization pathway similar to the one adopted in IMO’s revised strategy in 2023 will need globally about $400 billion of investment to be committed in new technology onboard and energy supply chain by 2030. 

While also working independently, the two entities—UCL Energy Institute and UMAS International—will continue to collaborate in this new era on reports and projects, including with third parties, and continue to exchange knowledge to maintain the broad understanding of decarbonization that has been so important to their evolution so far.



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