Shell, an integrated energy company and MSC are discussing ways to help achieve a net-zero emissions shipping industry. Here, Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy and Government Affairs at MSC Group and Melissa Williams, Vice President for Marine, Sectors and Decarbonisation at Shell explore the different approaches the companies are taking and how the industry can best work together to take action.
Melissa: Bud and I have had the opportunity to work together on several occasions during our time in the shipping industry. We’ve seen a few challenges, including the disruption to the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But decarbonisation is a fundamentally complex and long-term challenge for shipping, and we’re going to need to navigate some profound changes to overcome it.
Bud: Very much so. Despite what has happened recently we continued to think carefully about getting our efforts right to decarbonise, and to progress these efforts. Melissa and I continue to collaborate and exchange views related to solutions around this. We share a passion for building a path to sustainable and decarbonised shipping. We’re conscious that everyone across the whole value chain must work together to find and deploy the right set of fuels and technologies that will help decarbonise the whole industry for the long-term future. And we must act today.
Melissa: My Shell team is working closely with Bud and his colleagues at MSC on how we can take this action together. We did a similar thing when we were preparing for IMO 2020 – we worked together to ensure MSC had the fuels it needed, such as very low sulphur, and proactively trialled it with them on their vessels.
Bud: As an example of our efforts to decarbonise, MSC has been pioneering the use of responsibly sourced biofuel blends, and we were pleased to have been able to work with Shell on that. It’s a great start, and part of a much broader range of initiatives, but we agree that no single technology or solution holds all the answers.
We are looking at all possible options, such as hydrogen derived fuels, which we believe show great potential for container vessels. We have also been exploring for several years the significant potential benefits of progressing from fossil-based LNG to bio-LNG or synthetic variants. The bottom line is: one size doesn’t fit all. There are up to 100,000 ships out there with various shapes, deployments, and sizes. They all need to decarbonise over time.
Melissa: So we are going to need a range of new solutions – new technologies, new fuels – to pave the way to a low-carbon future for shipping. As an industry we need to co-create these solutions. Shell is focused on partnering with others to drive change. We want to lower the barriers to success on decarbonisation across the industry.
Bud: Yes, we must look at what we collectively can do to continue exploring both new marine technologies and new fuels. We also need to keep pushing forward regarding energy efficiency efforts. This is critical, not only for the gains in emissions it can produce today with conventional fuels, but also for its value in improving both the cost and volume profiles of future fuels to make them a shipboard reality sooner. We see open discussions and trusted relationships – which we have with Shell - as a key pillar to making all that happen.
Melissa: We have to carry on the conversation and progress around the industry. It’s clear to all of us in the shipping industry that we have a long way to go and that it isn’t going to be as simple as just one company making a decision on how they’ll do it.
Bud: For me, I see the work we did on biofuels as a great example. It allowed us to take firm steps and make real progress. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with Shell.