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LONDON: As leaders of the G7 economies prepare to meet in the UK on June 11, CEOs of 17 shipping lines are calling on governments to support a US$5 billion R&D programme to enable low-carbon and carbon-free ships meet an International Maritime Organization (IMO) target of 50 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.

The group, members of the World Shipping Council, propose a new, industry-funded International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), governed by the IMO, to coordinate R&D and prototype development of zero-carbon fuels and technologies in the maritime sector.

They say a dramatic increase in funding would enable the development of commercially viable low-carbon/no-carbon ships by the early 2030s.

Ten IMO Member States are currently co-sponsors of the IMRB proposal and the WSC members now want all governments to support the initiative because they say it benefits both the climate and society: “It provides a global solution to a global problem of shipping emissions – all nations will have access to the IMRB’s work and the technologies that it advances."

“Everything we do now to accelerate R&D will reduce the ultimate cost to society of decarbonisation by identifying promising technologies early and avoiding stranded investments.

“If carbon pricing is to deliver results, there must be zero-carbon options. The IMRB will make these options available, and the sooner we do that essential research and development work, the more effective any carbon pricing tool will be. It is not either/or. It is both/and,” they add.

Noting the world’s economies cannot afford a chaotic decarbonisation of shipping nor any time lost in tackling the technology challenge, the operators – representing Asian, European and North American maritime interests - say government leaders should “show engagement and climate leadership on the international stage” by supporting the IMRB.

They are: Jae-hoon Bae, President & CEO, HMM; Randy Chen, Vice-Chairman, Wan Hai Lines; Cheng-Mount Cheng, Chairman, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp; Matthew J. Cox, Chairman & CEO, Matson Inc.; Thomas B. Crowley, Owner & CEO, Crowley Maritime; Eli Glickman, President & CEO, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.; Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO, Hapag-Lloyd AG; Tim Hartnoll, Executive Chairman, X-Press Feeders Group; Eric Hsieh, CEO, Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd.; John Kirkland, CEO and Owner, Independent Container Line (ICL); Hitoshi Nagasawa, President, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK); Jeremy Nixon, CEO, Ocean Network Express; Erik Noeklebye, COO Shipping Services, Wallenius Wilhelmsen; Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman & CEO, CMA CGM; Søren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller – Maersk; Soren Toft, CEO, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.; and Kenny Ye, Executive Vice President, COSCO Shipping Holding and Chief Operating Officer, OOCL.
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