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Tuesday, May 11, 2021 

According to ABS, while nearly 40% of shipowners have still not implemented a decarbonisation strategy despite impending regulations, there appears to be strong confidence among industry leaders in LNG’s potential to help reach regulatory goals in the coming decades.

These are the findings of the US classification society set out in a new report, Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping: View of the Value Chain, following key messages from a panel of industry leaders and a survey of more than 400 attendees at a recent webinar exploring decarbonisation research. This third publication in the ABS Low Carbon Shipping series builds from prior issues which have identified LNG’s importance among the various alternative fuel options, and looks into current ship designs, in many cases, starting a transition to alternative fuels with LNG.

Christopher J Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO, said: “It’s clear the industry needs LNG as a transitional fuel to get us to 2030, it could also support the transition to zero-carbon and carbon-neutral fuels that are required to get us to 2050 such as Hydrogen. Owners of internationally trading ships are facing increasingly complex investment decisions as they try to navigate the most efficient course to the low-carbon future.”

As part of its decarbonisation programme, ABS has simplified three fuel pathways (light gas, heavy gas and bio/synthetic) to help aid owners' decision-making.

“LNG remains the clear choice today because of its sheer scalability, growing availability and high technological readiness among low-carbon and low-emission fuels, where Hydrogen and Ammonia appear to be emerging as significant fuel types for tomorrow,” said Wiernicki.

The ABS survey indicated the industry has solid confidence in LNG’s potential, with almost nine out of ten respondents agreeing that it has a key role to play in reaching IMO 2050. Among six fuel types, LNG landed the clear majority of the votes as having the most potential for meeting IMO 2050 decarbonisation goals. Of the respondents confirming they had not yet put in place a fleetwide decarbonisation strategy, 70% said that they had developed a clear understanding of their fleet’s environmental performance in relation to industry peers.

Key points identified by ABS included:

  • The short-term IMO measures, EEXI and CII, create a challenging landscape for many vessels within the global fleet.
  • Life-cycle analysis clearly identifies the need for green fuel production in order to have meaningful GHG emissions reduction from low- and zero-carbon fuels.
  • The required scale-up of technology for green fuel production is significant (by an order of magnitude) before low- and carbon-neutral fuels can be widely adopted by the global fleet.
  • The adoption of such fuels and the overall decarbonisation of the marine sector will be enhanced by the global economy’s efforts to address the impact of climate change.
  • Understanding global supply chains is critical to plan future fleet composition and renewal strategies.

“Although we are fuel and technology agnostic, ABS focuses on working across the board to help owners not only reach their decarbonisation and sustainability targets but hit them successfully, while maintaining a laser focus on safety,” said Wiernicki.

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