Pathways to Decarbonize the Marine Shipping Sector


The little (electric) engine that could: The Port of San Diego unveils the nation’s first all-electric tug boat

By Rob Nikolewski 03/11/24
The nation’s first all-electric tug boat has docked at the Port of San Diego and expects to begin emissions-free operations in about a month. Operated by Crowley Maritime Corporation, the 82-foot eWolf will escort ships…
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A dry Panama Canal shows how climate change will scramble globalization

By The Editorial Board 01/25/24
Global shipping companies excited by the potential new routes that climate change and melting ice are opening up around the North Pole have gotten walloped by some unexpected bad news. The Panama Canal might be…
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The Panama Canal Is So Backed Up Ships Are Rerouting Through the Suez

By Peter Millard 11/28/23
The Panama Canal has become so backlogged that the world’s largest operator of chemical tankers has decided to reroute its fleet to the Suez Canal.
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Irish Company Markets Boat With Deck Made From Solar Panels

By Carlton Reid 11/27/23
The solar-powered Gridbeater Amphibian never runs out of fuel: it is propelled by a lightweight electric outboard motor powered by solar panels.
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Ships Across the World Face Hefty $3.6 Billion Climate Bill

By Jack Wittels and Others 11/21/23
Ships sailing to European ports face a combined carbon emissions bill of $3.6 billion next year, the start of a levy that’s almost certainly going to rise as the continent steps up efforts to combat…
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Emissions of U.S. Tugboats

By David Hume 10/31/23
The fleet of 6,000 tugboats in the United States is one of the largest sources of maritime carbon emissions in the country. These unique vessels use large amounts of energy relative to their size and,…
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Shipping Contributes Heavily to Climate Change. Are Green Ships the Solution?

By Ana Swanson 10/30/23
On a bright September day on the harbor in Copenhagen, several hundred people gathered to welcome the official arrival of Laura Maersk.
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New technology uses good old-fashioned wind to power giant cargo vessels

By Scott Neuman 10/05/23
Well over a century after the Age of Sail gave way to coal- and oil-burning ships, climate change concerns are prompting a new look at an old technology that could once again harness wind to…
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Freed Cruise Ship Shows Risks of More Traffic in Remote Arctic

By Danielle Bochove and Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir 09/14/23
The grounding of a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Greenland on Monday highlighted the irony of touring the fast-warming Arctic on vessels powered by fossil fuels, the main culprit in climate change. But…
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A first-of-its-kind boat is making waves in the open ocean: ‘It will change the game, for sure’

By Jeremiah Budin 09/02/23
All types of transport are going electric these days as people increasingly turn away from gas-powered vehicles in an attempt to save money at the pump and do less damage to our planet. The latest…
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Drought affecting Panama Canal threatens 40% of world’s cargo ship traffic

By Ben Tracy and Analisa Novak 08/23/23
A severe drought is threatening shipping on the vital Panama Canal, which is responsible for moving 40% of the world's cargo ship traffic. About two-thirds of the canal's traffic is either headed for — or…
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Washington State Ferries Starts Conversion to Hybrid-Electric Power

Washington State Ferries (WSF), the largest operating public ferry system in the U.S., is following the European model by converting its operation to hybrid-electric power to decarbonize inland waterways transportation. The company awarded its first…
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Ships – Transport & Environment

Shipping emits 1,000 Mt CO2 per year, 3% of global CO2 emissions. According to The International Maritime Organisation, shipping emissions are set to increase by up to 50% by mid-century if stringent abatement measures are…

Shipping Pollution

Over 90 percent of world trade is carried across the world’s oceans by some 90,000 marine vessels. Like all modes of transportation that use fossil fuels, ships produce carbon dioxide emissions that significantly contribute to…

Industry group backs global carbon price for large ships

 A major maritime industry association on Monday backed plans for a global surcharge on carbon emissions from shipping to help fund the sector’s shift toward climate-friendly fuels.

Electric Vessels Are Not Enough to Slash Shipping Emissions

An autonomous electric cargo ship is slated to make its maiden voyage this year, but the vessel represents just one baby step in the long road toward reducing shipping emissions.

In San Diego, an All-Electric Tugboat Eyes a 2023 Debut

The first fully electric harbor tugboat will soon serve the Port of San Diego. Crowley Maritime Corporation will build and operate the tug, which will be operational by mid-2023. Instead of fuel, the eWolf will reportedly source its power…

Shady Ships: Retail Giants Pollute Communities and Climate with Fossil-Fueled Ocean Shipping

Just fifteen companies are responsible for emitting millions of tons of pollution from importing their goods into the United States on fossil-fueled ships. Our report Shady Ships: Retail Giants Pollute Communities and Climate with Fossil-Fueled Ocean…

Panama Canal Tackles Climate-Change Puzzle: Too Little Rainwater or Too Much

The Panama Canal faces a creeping threat from climate change, including droughts so intense that ships sometimes reduce their cargo so as not to run aground, and giant storms that almost overwhelm its dams and…

Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020

The Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020 is the first IMO greenhouse gas study published since the adoption in April 2018 of the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. This landmark strategy…


Shipping’s Greener Fuel Quest Runs Into Climate Complications

By Jack Wittels   08/15/23  
What does going “green” actually mean? For the global shipping industry, it’s a potentially fraught question.
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Sailors Are Collecting Climate Data as They Race Around the World

By Siobhan Wagner   08/04/23  
Round-the-world sailors can sense something is different. Steeper waves? Shifting winds? There’s no missing the calls to change course, sometimes drastically, to avoid icebergs in waters that were previously too far from the poles to…
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The UN just set a net-zero goal for shipping. Here’s how that could work.

By Casey Crownhart   07/11/23  
But all that travel causes pollution: the global shipping industry is responsible for over a billion tons of greenhouse-gas emissions each year, about 3% of the world’s total.
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World shipping body votes on ‘historic’ emissions cuts to curb warming

By William Booth   07/07/23  
The U.N. group that oversees the global shipping industry agreed Friday to slash the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades in an attempt to limit future global warming. The landmark deal — for a…
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Sir David Attenborough: How polar ship will help scientists study climate change

By Daisy Dunne   07/07/23  
Later this year, a state-of-the-art UK polar research ship – equipped with aquariums, a “moon pool” and 14 different laboratories – will sail to Antarctica to study little-known ecosystem processes that are vital to better…
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How wind power could help cut shipping emissions

French company Airseas has developed the Seawing, which it says could help ships cut their carbon emissions by an average of 20%. Pictured, the Seawing being tested on the cargo ship "Ville de Bordeaux." Look…
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A shipping emissions showdown stands in the way of one of the biggest climate deals of the decade

By Sam Meredith   06/29/23  
In the face of a colossal and growing source of emissions, the United Nations shipping agency is looking to slash pollution from the world’s ocean-going vessels by adopting new climate targets. Observers of next week’s…
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Marshall Islands, a nation at the heart of global shipping, fights for climate justice

By Christiaan De Beukelaer   06/27/23  
I went sailing on a bright yellow outrigger canoe in the Marshall Islands in March. On board were Alson Kelen, founder of Waan Aelõñ in Majel (WAM, Canoes of the Marshall Islands), and a group…
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UN climate deal for shipping will fail without ambitious 2030 goal

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) agreement on shipping climate targets expected next month could be the starting gun for the radical climate action our planet desperately needs. Civil society groups are calling on the IMO…
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The EU is not on track for a sustainable blue future

MSP in the Baltic region has only been partly successful: integration of an ecosystem-based approach - which maintains ecosystems in a healthy, productive and resilient condition against human pressures - is uneven across Member States.
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Paris climate summit ends without global shipping tax deal

Participants at a Paris summit on finance and the climate have stopped short of a deal to create a tax on greenhouse gas emissions produced from international shipping. The two-day gathering of world leaders and…
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Climate impact of shipping under growing scrutiny ahead of key meeting

By Isabella Kaminski   06/22/23  
Governments are under growing pressure to tackle the huge climate impact of the shipping industry, before a key International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in the summer.
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Momentum grows for Clean Energy Marine Hubs with Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation joining the initiative

Momentum for the Clean Energy Marine Hubs (CEM Hubs) continues to grow with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) joining the initiative which aims to advance the production, transport and use of low-carbon fuels…
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100% Wind Energy To Propel A Cargo Ship That Looks Like A Racing Yacht

By Tina Casey   06/13/23  
Leading players in the global shipping industry have been trying all sorts of new technologies to cut their carbon footprints, and meanwhile an old one has been staring them in the face all along. That…
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This electric cruise ship will use three giant retractable solar panels to power it at sea

By Peter Johnson   06/07/23  
On Wednesday, Norwegian cruise line company Hurtigruten revealed plans for a first-of-its-kind zero-emission ship. The electric-powered cruise ship will feature retractable sails with solar panels to harness energy from the wind and sun while storing…
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The stakes at sea: America’s commercial, scientific, and naval roles in a changing global landscape

American internationalism was born at sea. America has long been a maritime power and, since the end of World War II, the U.S. Navy has been the world’s dominant power on the high seas. American…
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This Revolutionary Ship Can Deliver Clean Energy to Vessels At Port

By Rahul Kalvapalle   06/06/23  
SeaFjord Energy, an innovative Swedish company that is dedicated to furthering the electric revolution in shipping, has developed a truly revolutionary ship that is designed to be able to efficiently and safely deliver electricity to…
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Cargo Ships Return To Wind Power, Again

By Tina Casey   06/06/23  
Leading players in the global shipping industry are under enormous pressure to decarbonize, and the quest for solutions has been leading them into some strange areas. The millennia-old technology of wind power is in the…
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Shipping companies and supply chain showcase climate ambition ahead of critical climate negotiations

By UN Global Compact   06/05/23  
Leaders from the global shipping industry are taking action to align their businesses with what is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change, according to those present at an executive-level event convened on…
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An Obscure Bipartisan Shipping Clause Could Derail One Of Biden’s Big Clean Energy Goals

By Daniel Marans   06/04/23  
A relatively obscure provision in a U.S. Coast Guard funding bill in the House of Representatives could jeopardize President Joe Biden’s offshore wind energy agenda, according to industry representatives, their allies in Congress and some…
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Real-Time Emissions Monitoring Should Be A Part Of Global Maritime Decarbonization

By Gregory S. McNeal   06/02/23  
A recently released report issued by The Blue Sky Coalition, a non-profit organization of leaders representing businesses in marine shipping, suggests that real-time monitoring is an essential component of an effective decarbonization strategy. Real-time monitoring…
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The world’s first maritime electric-tanker to offer clean energy transport

By Jijo Malayil   05/30/23  
Japanese-based clean energy startup PowerX is offering a maritime solution to transport clean energy from places abundant in renewable resources to places deficient in green energy sources. To enable such transport, a detailed design of…
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This electric tanker will carry 96 batteries across the ocean, transporting clean energy

By Peter Johnson |   05/29/23  
As the world moves toward a sustainable future, some regions have an abundance of renewable energy, while others are at a geographical disadvantage. Japan-based startup PowerX has a solution with the world’s first electric battery…
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Designs for Battery Tankers to Transport Renewable Energy by 2026

Design details were announced for a Japanese concept to develop battery tankers that would make up the backbone for a power transmission network distributing renewable energy from areas with high potential generation to areas with…
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In the voyage to net-zero, which green shipping fuel will rule the seas?

By Angeli Mehta   05/15/23  
There’s a Yorkshire saying: “Where there’s muck there’s brass”. For brass read money. Now we can also add shipping fuel. Companies are using agriculture and forest waste, the organic portion of municipal solid waste and…
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Could This Be the Final Frontier for Renewable Energy?

By Eric Mack   05/14/23  
With 70% of the Earth's surface covered by oceans, wave power could be one of our largest energy resources. If you've ever been knocked off your feet by a big wave, you've felt a smidgeon…
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Climate change: This startup aims to decarbonize ocean shipping by ‘converting ammonia to power’

By Grace O'Donnell   05/08/23  
Ammonia could be the carbon-free shipping fuel of the future, powering ocean vessels throughout the world's seas.
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Shipping lobby group advises caution on climate targets

By Ed Davey   05/04/23  
An influential shipping industry group has quietly warned shippers to think carefully before they sign up for a new plan to reduce pollution and eventually eliminate their contribution to climate change.
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Climate change raising incidents of maritime piracy

By Rachael Grahame   04/27/23  
Climate change is raising the risk of extreme weather, causing food shortages and threatening the existence of myriad species—and if that weren't enough, it's now prompting pirates to plague the world's oceans and seas.
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Singapore, LA, Long Beach ports ink agreement on green and digital shipping corridor

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB), with the support of C40 Cities, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to establish a…
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G7 Nations Pledge to Support Decarbonization of Shipping

The G7 Energy and Environment Ministers’ meeting in Sapporo Japan ended on Sunday, with new announcements being made to accelerate adoption of offshore energy and clean fuels in the transport industry.
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United States Announces $800 Million in International Commitments for Protecting Our Ocean

At the Our Ocean Conference (OOC) in Panama, the United States highlighted new and recently launched global initiatives totaling more than USD 800 million to protect our ocean and assist developing countries – from supporting…
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New Report Reveals Ocean Shipping Emissions of Top U.S. Importers

By Mike Schuler   03/01/23  
The top U.S. importers emitted 3.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from shipping during the height of the pandemic-driven imports surge in 2021, according to new research released today by the Ship It Zero…
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Extreme Weather, Climate Change Driving New IMO Shipping Regulations

By Renny Vandewege   03/01/23  
Extreme weather resulting from warming ocean temperatures are becoming a top challenge for shipping industry executives. While the extreme weather can influence port activity and result in lost or damaged cargo, the environmental impact of…
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Electrifying US ports could drive sharp cuts in air pollution

By Maria Gallucci   02/14/23  
America’s waterfront communities could see a dramatic reduction in toxic air pollution if ports powered ships and trucks using only electricity instead of exhaust-spewing diesel engines, a new analysis found.
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The race is on to build the world’s first ammonia-powered ship

By Maria Gallucci   11/10/22  
Ammonia is predicted to become the leading fuel source for the world’s giant cargo ships by 2050. Yet no vessel actually runs on the pungent, carbonless compound today. In labs and shipyards around the world,…
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Bill Gates-led Fund Backs Methanol as Green Fuel for Global Shipping

By Will Mathis and Others   08/30/22  
Green fuels and new engines to consume them could help limit climate-warming emissions from giant ships that keep the world economy moving.
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Electric Ships Are Ready For Action

By Brayden Gerrard   08/24/22  
The electric car revolution has spread to water as ships all over the world are turning green
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We’re Gonna Need a Greener Boat

By Alejandro De La Garza   06/23/22  
Container ships transport just about everything. The world wants more of all of it. So the ships are getting bigger, as are the shipping channels, port complexes, and loading cranes. “All over the world they’re…
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This electric speedboat is fast, quiet, clean — and pricey

By Maria Gallucci   06/15/22  
Arc, whose team includes former SpaceX engineers, raised $30 million in venture capital financing last year to set up its first production run in Los Angeles, where the startup is based. The company began accepting…
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Ship pollution is rising as the U.S. waits for world leaders to act

By Anna Phillips   06/06/22  
When the first American-made lake freighter built in more than 35 years launched in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., last year, the 639-foot ship was outfitted for the future. The M/V Mark W. Barker’s larger hatch openings…
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Putting a charge in the gas-guzzling power boat industry

By Joann Muller   03/03/22  
A team of former Space-X engineers and boating enthusiasts is aiming to transform recreational boating with a new speedboat that zips across the water on electricity instead of gas or diesel fuel.
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How floating power ports could help cargo ships cut their air pollution

By Erik Olsen   01/28/22  
The pandemic has exposed serious weaknesses in the global supply chain, causing a backup of cargo ships in seaports around the world. While consumers have experienced rising prices and severe delivery delays, the problem has…
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Amazon invests in ammonia fuel tech to curb cargo ship emissions

By Maria Gallucci   12/22/21  
Major U.S. retailers have pledged to curb their supply-chain emissions by powering warehouses with renewable energy and replacing diesel vans and trucks with electric vehicles. But when it comes to using greener ships to import…
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Giant Kite Will Pull a Ship Across the Ocean Next Month

By Molly Taft   12/17/21  
Starting in January, a huge boat will attach itself to an enormous kite in a first-of-its-kind test to try and alleviate harmful carbon emissions from toting stuff to and fro across the high seas.
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22 countries agreed to establish green shipping routes. That’s big news.

By Jan Stockbruegger   11/30/21  
COP26 didn’t produce the big breakthroughs for climate change that many had hoped. Yet for maritime shipping, the U.N. Climate Change Conference was a major success.
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Amazon’s new net-zero carbon pledge is focused on the oceans, as shipping giants pursue alternative fuels

By Alicia Doniger   10/19/21  
Amazon and IKEA are among the major companies pushing the ocean shipping industry to adopt zero-carbon fuel sources for vessels by 2040. Marine shipping accounts for 1 billion tons of carbon emissions per year, according…
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Maritime shipping causes more greenhouse gases than airlines

By YCC team   08/02/21  
Ships transport more than 10 billion metric tons of cargo each year, including clothing, electronics, and oil. Almost all of these ships run on fossil fuels, so they emit a lot of carbon pollution. Maritime…
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Walmart, Ikea, and Amazon have a dirty shipping problem

By Justine Calma   07/20/21  
Giant retailers, including Amazon and Ikea, have pledged to go green, but their shipping is still pretty dirty. Now shoppers can now see how much pollution some of the biggest retail companies in the US…
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Climate Art Sets Sail for the Poles

By Clara Chaisson   07/16/21  
There’s a lot to consider when curating an art exhibit that showcases more than 50 artists working across diverse media including drawings, paintings, videos, sculptures, and soundscapes. Now imagine doing it on a ship bound…
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