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Shipping industry leaders prominent participants at coming UN climate change summit

A major gathering of top executives from the world’s biggest shipping companies and maritime state representatives will take place in Glasgow at a cross-industry decarbonisation conference, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) announced. The shipping industry’s official COP 26 sideline event, Shaping the Future of Shipping, will bring together leaders from the shipping, energy, climate sectors and international ministers to translate government ambitions set out at COP’s leaders’ summit and identify actions and recommendations for all parties, including IMO member states.

Staged at Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Scotland’s largest exhibition center, the UN Climate Change Conference begins on October 31 and ends on November 12. Nearly 200 countries will be represented.

Newly confirmed attendees include Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Rt Hon Nusrat Ghani, MP, and Francesco La Camera, Director General of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Ministers from Belgium, Cyprus, Chile, Greece, Panama and Kenya are also confirmed to attend the conference.

The ministerial-level event on 6th November will feature some of the world’s leading figures from shipping, energy, and finance. The discussions are set to inform the UNFCCC climate conference and the upcoming decarbonisation defining IMO climate committee meeting. Attendees will also discuss ways to accelerate much-needed R&D for shipping and a proposed carbon levy.

Representatives from international shipping will include Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO, Hapag-Lloyd AG, Christine Cabau Woehrel, CEO, CMA Ships and Head of Fleets and Assets, CMA CGM, Bud Darr, EVP Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC Group, William Fairclough, Managing Director, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, Hong Kong SAR, Lasse Kristoffersen, CEO, Torvald Klaveness, Jeremy Nixon, CEO, ONE Group, Vandita Pant, Chief Commercial Officer, BHP, Esben Poulsson, Executive Chairman, Enesel PTE and Chair, International Chamber of Shipping, Svein Steimler, President and CEO, NYK Group Europe Ltd, Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO, Maersk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Emissions, and Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.

Attendees will also include Joan McNaughton, Chair of The Climate Group, Lord John Browne, Chairman of BeyondNetZero, and Javier Manzanares, Deputy Executive Director, Green Climate Fund.

The conference is seeking to create solutions and collaborations between national governments and industry that will advance proposals to create zero emission ships, accelerate investment and ensure that the transition is equitable.  

Discussion topics at the conference will include: 

  • The challenges and commitments for decarbonisation
  • R&D, Market based measures and global policy frameworks
  • The reduction of political and financial risk 
  • Ensuring a just transition

The global shipping industry has already called on the UN to halve industry’s mandated timeline for full decarbonisation to 2050. The International Chamber of Shipping has also backed a $5bn R&D fund to ensure zero-carbon ocean-going vessels are in the water by 2030. Industry additionally supports a proposal to mandate a carbon levy on ships over 5000 gross tonnes via a global market-based mechanism. 

Shaping the Future of Shipping will be held on the 6th November at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre, in the midst of COP26. MSC is the lead sponsor of the event, with DNV, BP and Hapag Lloyd among the other sponsors. 

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping commented: “It is inspiring to see the level of participation and calibre of those attending Shaping the Future of Shipping. We are bringing together the largest ship owners in the world, alongside energy, finance, and climate heavyweights and international politicians.

“This unprecedented meeting of minds has been in the making since 2019, and shipping’s official COP26 event shows the scale of our commitment to decarbonise the sector. We are bringing together people that create plans, not promises, and who will not just discuss the challenges within industry but the wider energy transformation required to tackle climate change.

“Shipping is the backbone of the global economy. This has never been more apparent than now. As world leaders look to a green future, they must eliminate the political risk around decarbonisation policies. This starts with the energy transition in key industries which underpin global trade.” (Dreamstime photo of Scottish Event Campus)