MSC CEO Soren Toft highlighted the importance of working together to achieve net decarbonisation in a keynote digital speech at DNV’s ‘Fuel of the Future Conference’ on 11 January, as part of the annual Nor-Shipping convention.
In his speech, Soren explained MSC’s views on the status of decarbonisation in the container shipping sector, summarised how the company is approaching this massive challenge and commented on how everyone must move forward together in collaboration to tackle climate change.
Container shipping enables the global economy to function. As shipping volumes have grown over the years, so have the environmental emissions produced as a by-product of delivering goods around the world. Nowadays, the rate at which emissions are rising has started to decline, but there is much still to do to make tackling climate change a global imperative.
Container lines such as MSC must continue to do their part to help mitigate the impact of climate change while continuing to operate responsibly in meeting the ever-increasing demand for global trade, Soren noted:
“It is critical that our priority this year is not only to respond to the huge demand we are experiencing in the very complex, congested markets that emerged amid COVID, but also to ensure that we do not decouple this from our efforts to decarbonise.”
Collaboration is key in order to achieve the aspirational decarbonisation goals set out by the shipping industry. MSC itself already fosters industry-wide, as well as cross-sector collaboration in order to enable the massive investment needed to decarbonise shipping. While the company continues to invest in low-carbon technologies and explore different fuel options, carriers in general continue to struggle from a lack of solutions available at scale.
With the total cost of decarbonising shipping estimated into the trillions of dollars, carriers must make expensive capital decisions that will live on for decades. Urgent investment and a better understanding of how business and society will share the cost burden is also required.
In his speech, Soren emphasised that “the transition to a low-carbon economy requires broad collective action and productive partnerships with our stakeholders across and beyond shipping.”
“By cooperating and collaborating with others, we will capitalise and build on the interdependencies between ocean-going and inland logistics as well as other sectors providing fuels, distribution systems and infrastructure,” he concluded.
MSC started its journey towards decarbonisation many years ago. While the company has not settled on a precise mix of alternative fuels it will adopt in future, it is clear that low-carbon fuels will come at a premium and this will have to be passed on throughout the supply chain.
In order to speed up maritime industry’s energy transition it is now critical that policy makers catch up. Governments must play a vital role in catalysing the process and rapidly provide a more robust global framework to incentivise the transition.
MSC continues to support the shipping industry’s proposal to create a global R&D fund for decarbonisation and would support some form of global market-based mechanism, potentially incorporating carbon pricing.