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More than 20 nations vow to develop zero-emission shipping routes

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A group of 22 countries pledged to create emission-free shipping corridors in the coming years as an initial step to decarbonizing maritime transportation, one of the hardest-to-abate sectors.

The signatory countries of the Clydebank Declaration aim to establish at least six seaborne trade lanes where vessels can access zero-emission fuels on a pilot basis by 2025 before scaling up to more and longer routes, or more ships in the same corridors.

“It is our aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030,” they said 10 November in the declaration issued at COP26.

The new coalition will complement the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission (ZESM), launched by Denmark, Norway, and the US in July to put the maritime sector on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Some signatory countries hope that the green shipping lanes will help achieve the ZESM’s interim targets of putting at least 200 zero-emission vessels in operation, and having such ships account for 5% of bunker fuel consumption in deep-sea trade globally, before 2030.

These are seen by many as challenging tasks because the supply chains for low-emission fuels are not yet developed at scale. The first ships powered by ammonia and methanol for deep-sea trade are only expected to hit the water in the next two to three years.

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