The maritime industry must set its own decarbonization milestones

MARITIME transport is one of the most important nodes in international trade due to its significant effect on the overall performance of global supply chains.

The plethora of maritime traffic and maritime commerce, on the other hand, has a significant negative impact on the marine environment and human health.

According to statistics from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the global commercial fleet grew by 63 million deadweight tonnage between January 2021 and January 2022.

The majority of fuel used in shipping is petroleum-based.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with almost 90% of world trade handled by sea, the maritime sector accounts for around 3% of annual global carbon emissions.
According to the IMO, global shipping emissions could increase by 130% by 2050. In early 2020, the IMO set a limit for sulfur content in fuel oil used on board ships from 3.5% to 0 .5% mass by mass.

First, the IMO has set a target for CO2 emissions in the shipping industry: a 50% reduction by 2050.

The IMO has also agreed to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030 and to work towards a 70% reduction by 2050.

Carbon reduction is central to Malaysia’s carbon program. Promoting carbon reduction initiatives would address the industry’s impact on the environment and climate change.

Malaysia has ratified nearly half of the IMO conventions to ensure safe and secure shipping, with the protection of the marine environment being a major concern.

Therefore, it is essential that our maritime industry establishes its own decarbonization milestones that are in line with the IMO plan.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, during the presentation of the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP), stressed that the government aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Carbon neutrality refers to the process of balancing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the removal of an equal amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

A maritime industry strategic plan should clearly define the state, issues and possible courses of action for the subject, as well as a roadmap. Although great progress has been made, significant hurdles must be overcome before the industry can achieve such ambitious goals.

Ongoing actions fall under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and sustained action under the Paris Agreement will serve as the basis for the development of the net-zero emissions framework.

The agreement required the Malaysian government to make a long-term commitment to reduce GHG emissions and to increase these efforts over time.

Raising awareness in the maritime community of the need to achieve net zero carbon emissions is essential.

Malaysia is on the right track. Some port administrators have endorsed the IMO’s decarbonization roadmap, encouraging port operators to follow the organization’s standards for reducing carbon emissions and fuel efficiency of ships. Port Klang, for example, is contributing by being early adopters of green technologies.

There is also huge room for improvement in terms of effectively reducing carbon emissions. R&D investments in the development of green technologies and the manufacturing of high value-added goods seem to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

At some point, Malaysia will need to improve its energy efficiency given the significant increase in maritime trade volumes around the world. Carbon-free energy must come from non-fossil fuels or renewable sources such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

Malaysia could reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 by establishing a roadmap.

Therefore, the government should emphasize a new governance framework by strengthening administrative and legislative concerns.

Malaysia has several agencies to support this ambitious goal. It is time to establish a tremendous synergy between the authorities and to eliminate the bureaucracy.

The newly developed governance framework is key to moving the maritime industry towards carbon neutrality. It will help society, the economy and the country as it complements the 12MP’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Source: New Straits Times