Major shippers launch initiative to accelerate transition to zero-emission fuels

The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) is asking for a Request for Proposals (RfP) for 600,000 20-foot containers (TEUs) over a 3-year period on ocean vessels powered by zero-emission fuels. 

The mission of ZEMBA is to accelerate commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping, by leveraging companies’ collective buying power to accelerate the zero-emission vessel market and realize the ambition of zero-emission ocean shipping by 2040. 

The Ship It Zero coalition commends Amazon, IKEA, Patagonia, and the Aspen Institute for this leadership move to make the transformation of shipping decarbonization a reality, and to quicken the movement towards a zero-emission future for shipping.

Eric Leveridge, Ship It Zero Lead at Pacific Environment, said: “We congratulate Amazon, IKEA, Patagonia and the Aspen Institute for spurring the shipping industry towards decarbonization, and call on Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Lowe’s and all major retailers to join this important alliance. 

“With the highest temperatures ever recorded in 2023, the time is now to commit to zero-emission shipping. The UN has warned us that the window is ‘rapidly closing’ to meet our climate goals and retailers must do their part by choosing to ship their goods on zero-emission ships by 2030.” 

The global shipping industry accounts for 3% of global climate emissions, more than global air travel. If shipping were a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest climate polluter. But since maritime shipping negotiated itself out of the U.N. Paris Agreement, the effort to reduce emissions in the industry has been slower than in other sectors.

Approximately 90% of the world trade is transported by sea, and current business-as-usual scenarios project emissions will grow up to 50% over 2018 levels. While the International Maritime Organization noted increased ship size and operational improvements aimed at creating better fuel efficiency have resulted in a decrease in emissions intensity, annual absolute emissions are still increasing.

Photo credit: iStock/ SHansche

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