U.N. delegates, shipping representatives, scholars and NGOs gathered in Lisbon for the Economist Impact World Ocean Summit 2023 to convene and discuss the blue economy, marine ecosystems preservation, and pathways forward for climate and ocean stewardship. Issues ranging from reef restoration to alternative shipping fuels, to enhancing ocean data collection were debated in an in-person format for the first time since the pandemic in 2020.
Claudio Abbate, Vice President of Maritime Policy and Government Affairs at MSC Group, provided industry input from the world’s largest shipping company on a panel discussion examining the wider adoption of decarbonized shipping trade routes, also known as green corridors.
At the panel event consisting of distinguished speakers from ports, NGOs, and government, Claudio delivered MSC’s perspectives on lessons learned from the establishment of green corridors, and potential solutions to challenges still facing the industry regarding the wider adoption of new marine fuels.
The panel also explored the dilemma facing industry stakeholders regarding further investment in new technologies and fuel sources when faced with uncertainty around what fuels will be viable and mainstream over the next decade. When asked by the moderator about this first-mover dilemma facing shippers and fuel suppliers, Claudio declared “we are willing and ready” on further adopting and embracing alternative fuel solutions referencing MSC’s commitment to decarbonization.
Speaking about lessons learned from green corridors, Claudio stated “participation to green corridors allows us to share with peers experiences and ideas on the adoption of new technologies and different fuels. Green corridors are certainly a practical way to start the decarbonization pathway but, being present in over 160 countries around the world, we believe that experience gained shall be transferred across the industry because we need global and flexible solutions to achieve our decarbonization goals.”
“Also, it is imperative that we keep in mind the necessity for not only supply of alternative fuels at scale, but also efficient and timely accessibility to fuels” while stressing the importance of having an interconnected network of sufficient bunkering infrastructure.
While addressing a question from the audience on what the future holds for the sector given the rapidly evolving landscape of regulation and alternative fuels, Claudio stressed the importance of fuel flexibility and maintaining a range of fuel options as what appears to be potentially viable or mainstream today may not be in the future.
The World Ocean Summit hosted by Economist Impact brought together industry, academia, NGOs, and government. The summit took place at the Lisbon Congress Center from Monday 27 February to Wednesday 1 March.
Image © Economist Impact World Ocean Summit 2023