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Three shipowners take on new absolute zero emissions challenge

Three shipowners take on new absolute zero emissions challenge
Sam Chambers August 21, 2023

Three shipowners have accepted to take up the absolute zero emissions challenge posed by the Zero Emissions Ship Technology Association (ZESTA), a global industry body representing technologies and fuel providers who are already committed to absolute zero.

The three shipowners, exclusively revealed to Splash, are Hong Kong-based tanker and bulker firm Wah Kwong, Veer Voyage, a Bahamas-headquartered containerline and OSV operator North Star Shipping.

While other shipping companies have made strong carbon commitments – Berge Bulk’s intention to be carbon neutral by 2025, and Maersk’s 2040 net zero goal, for instance – to consider absolute zero by 2043 is a substantial leap further.

“We’re calling on others who have the will, the commitment, the strength, and the courage to do what needs to be done to join us,” said Madadh MacLaine, ZESTA secretary-general.

The three shipowners will present the challenges to achieving their green ambitions at ShipZERO28, one of many events taking place during London International Shipping Week next month.

“The big difference here is that we are talking about absolute zero,” MacLaine said, in conversation with Splash, adding: “The holes in net zero are big enough to sail the world fleet through.”

Unlike absolute zero emissions, net zero or carbon neutral implies some carbon/GHG emissions remain but allows for some form of offsetting through carbon dioxide removal or negative emissions such as carbon capture and storage.

“Human society has largely forgotten the need to live in harmony with nature since the advent of industrialisation. Now, as we reach another crossroad, it is important to set global development on the right path. As a fundamental part of the global supply chain, the shipping industry must be part of the decarbonisation conversation and, together with our partners upstream and downstream, find a way forward,” said Hing Chao, executive chairman of Wah Kwong.

“The veil of stepping stone solutions, mitigation, and offsets is being removed. As the climate crisis intensifies – mass fires, mass flooding, mass coral bleaching, mass extinction, mass glacial melt, we can no longer pretend that there is any other solution: we must veer towards absolute zero – now,” said Danielle Southcott, founder of Veer Voyage.