On top of the daily challenges to shipping presented by geopolitical uncertainty, market volatility, the trade impact of Covid-19 and the occasional blocked canal, the industry remains commendably focused on longer-term decarbonisation.
A recent meeting of shipping associations highlighted the urgent need for market-based measures to meet the IMO's target of halving emissions by 2050. At the same time, they rightly pointed out that alternative fuels, seen as a key part of cutting emissions, need far more support if they are to be a part of the solution.
The future of marine fuels is technically and logistically complex. The ultimate goal is to make new fuels usable, affordable and available when and where vessels need them. In turn this requires substantial investment in land-based facilities and the coordinated development of alternative fuel supply chains. The legal and regulatory framework will need to keep up with these changes, which will need to be fast-moving if the industry is to fulfil its stated aim of accelerating decarbonisation. Watch this space.