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WASHINGTON, DC: Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) now has over 35 freight buyers working together as part of the Green Shipping Challenge - launched by the U.S. and Norway at COP27 to ensure the maritime industry aligns with the goal of limiting global temperature to a rise of 1.5°C.

This follows a CoZEV Ambition Statement announced before COP26 as the first collective signal by cargo owners to introduce zero emission (ZE) solutions in ocean transport by 2040:

"Building on our existing ambitious company-wide climate commitments, today we announce that we are targeting steep reductions and eventual elimination of the climate impact of our ocean freight globally.

"By 2040, we aim to only purchase ocean freight services powered by scalable zero-carbon fuels, a timeframe that is squarely aligned with a Paris Agreement 1.5°C trajectory.

"We recognize that reaching this goal requires the shipping industry to deploy new technologies and utilize zero-carbon shipping fuels that are not yet in widespread use. By setting this target and signalling our dedication to decarbonize this part of our supply chains, we hope to inspire a surge in investment by ocean freight carriers and producers of zero-carbon shipping fuels.

"To satisfy our climate ambitions, investments should focus on solutions with the potential—either individually or in combination—to reach sufficient scale to truly decarbonise our supply chains by 2040 and the entire shipping industry by 2050 at the latest. As we evaluate potential solutions, we should also ensure they can become economically viable through collaboration across the supply chain and with appropriate policy support.

"To reach our ambitions, we will work with ocean freight carriers that are maximizing energy efficiency through operational and technical measures and have clear plans to upscale zero-carbon fuels in their operations. Where appropriate, we will also work with those third-party logistics providers that can support our efforts to better understand our maritime climate footprint and enable us to reach our zero-carbon target."

In a call for action, the statement also acknowledges decarbonisation requires strong public and private sector action at multiple levels.

In March 2023 the organisation set up the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) to launch commercial zero emission (ZE) shipping services.

This was followed in September with its first RFP to ship 600,000 TEU over a three-year period from 2024 on behalf of Amazon, Bauhaus, Brooks Running, Chewy, Electrolux Group, Flexport, Green Worldwide Shipping, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., lululemon, Meta, Moose Toys, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia, Philips, Schneider Electric, Sport-Thieme and Tchibo.

ZEMBA said it would also negotiate a green premium for the added cost of operating a vessel using zero-emission fuels.

At COP28 in December, Flexport, Meta, Nestlé, Royal Coffee, Standing CT, and Trek Bikes joined the group.

“This year, the maritime industry has demonstrated progress towards a zero-emission future through new investments in dual fuel vessels and at ports, offtake agreements for more climate-friendly fuels, and signals from policymakers of renewed interest in the nascent ZE shipping market,” explained Ingrid Irigoyen, director of coZEV and president and CEO of ZEMBA.

“The Green Shipping Challenge is the perfect opportunity to welcome new companies to the coZEV family. Climate-leading cargo owners have a crucial role to play in driving decarbonization in a hard-to-abate sector that is the lifeblood of global trade,” she added.

Maritime shipping accounted for nearly 3.0 percent of global human-caused CO2 emissions in 2018 and roughly 11 percent of life-cycle transportation CO2 emissions in 2020. Between 2012 and 2018, the sector’s CO2 emissions grew 10 percent according to the fourth UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) greenhouse gas (GHG) study, co-authored with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

Methane emissions grew 145 percent over the same period due to rapid growth in the use of natural gas as a marine fuel. Without additional government action GHG emissions are expected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2030, and 50 percent by 2050.

Aligning with the Paris Agreement temperature goal of 1.5˚C requires immediate emission reductions by 2030 and achieving zero emissions by 2040 or 2050. The ICCT said this can be achieved using a mix of new fuels and technologies with strong policy support from the IMO plus regional, national, and sub-national governments.
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