The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has submitted a proposal to shipping’s global regulator - the United Nations (UN) International Maritime Organization (IMO) - for a Zero Emission Shipping Fund (ZESF).

Submitted in partnership with the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Republic of Liberia, the fund was aimed at accelerating the shipping sector’s transition to net zero by 2050, the ICS said on 1 February.

The transition to net zero shipping must be truly global. Otherwise, it will not succeed,” ICS secretary general Guy Platten said.

“A global GHG pricing mechanism for shipping urgently needs to be agreed on next year, which will de-risk investment in zero GHG marine fuels and provide billions of dollars of funds to support developing countries [in the transition].”

As part of the proposal, governments would be urged to approve fit-for-purpose proposals to meet their commitment to adopt a maritime GHG emissions pricing mechanism in 2025.

The ZESF was due to be discussed by IMO member states at their next round of GHG negotiations in March.

Governments had already unanimously committed to developing a GHG pricing mechanism for international shipping by 2025, the ICS said.

If governments agreed, the ZESF would be approved next year to help achieve net zero GHG emissions from shipping by or close to 2050, in line with the GHG reduction targets adopted by IMO member states.

Under the proposal, contributions from ships per tonne of CO2 emitted would be used to reduce the significant cost gap between zero GHG fuels and conventional fuel oil, providing financial rewards (“feebates”) to ships for the GHG emissions prevented by using new marine fuels.

The proposal would include support for the production of zero/near-zero marine fuels and the roll-out of new bunkering infrastructure in developing countries’ ports worldwide, as well as supporting training in the safe use of new fuels.

According to the results of an impact assessment conducted by Clarksons Research for ICS, a contribution rate which added a cost in a range between US$20-$300/tonne of fuel oil consumed would have no disproportionately negative impacts on national economies in terms of delivered cargo prices.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is a global trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world’s merchant fleet.