In a significant step, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a partnership project of the world’s key economies working together to accelerate the global clean energy transition, has adopted the Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative (CEM-Hubs) at a summit in Goa last week. The first-of-its-kind platform brings together the private sector and governments across the energy-maritime value chain to transform maritime transportation and production hubs for future low-carbon fuels.

The CEM-Hubs initiative is backed by Canada, Norway, Panama, Uruguay and the UAE, in partnership with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

Reality check

The initiative is jointly led by players in the private sector and governments working in close collaboration. But, the maritime energy value chain is far from ready to transport the influx of low-carbon fuels that are expected between now and 2050. To feed the demand, the shipping industry is expected to transport at least 50 per cent of all traded low carbon fuels by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA). But the production centres, vessels and port infrastructure required to accommodate expected demand do not currently exist at commercial scale.

So far only one ship, in the whole global fleet, has been piloted to transport liquefied hydrogen — travelling from Australia to Japan. For hydrogen derivatives, such as ammonia and other low-carbon fuels moved by ships, the scale is far from what heavy industries, transport and other sectors would require. To support the global transition to net-zero targets, the shipping industry is expected to transport 2-5 times the low-carbon fuels it will consume by 2050. The mix of fuels will also need to change to be aligned with the goals of Paris Agreement, according to a statement by The World Ports Sustainability Program.

Jean-François Gagné, Head of Secretariat, Clean Energy Ministerial, said, ports, shipping and the logistics network need to be an integral part of the global clean energy transition. The CEM Hubs is a unique opportunity to develop implementable actions to ensure greener supply chains globally.

Meanwhile, Captain Rajalingam, MISC’s President and Group CEO, says the adoption, transportation and integration of future fuels into the broader economy demands immediate action to unlock demand and achieve scale.