Climate fund carbon levy on shipping proposal 'poses many challenges'

Mon 18 Oct 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The shipping industry has been urged to accelerate the uptake and deployment of zero-carbon fuels to meet the 2050 target for net zero.

With the COP26 conference starting in Glasgow in two weeks’ time (31 October-12 November), a carbon levy for shipping is one proposal to fund the transition to greener shipping fuels.  

Hellenic Shipping News reports that the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) backs a levy on fuels for each tonne of CO2 emitted, to build an ‘IMO [International Maritime Organization] Climate Fund’ which would close the price gap between zero carbon and conventional fuels and help build the bunkering infrastructure for fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia. 

Challenges ahead

However, the proposals present numerous challenges, according to a report from shipbroker Gibson.

These include:

  • The rising price of carbon
  • Fears the levy would be passed on to consumers fuelling inflation
  • Concerns over which fuels will be available in which port
  • Economic uncertainty in adopting the ‘right’ alternative fuels for particular vessels and trading patterns

Gibson says that to encourage the shipping sector towards zero mission fuels, the industry will need “substantial incentives and farsighted leadership” as well as “an extended period of time to design and build the infrastructure and vessel engines that will be required”.

UK battery win

As electric vehicles become a greater part of the car market, Ford will spend £230m to turn its Halewood plant in Merseyside into an electric vehicle parts factory, after it was chosen over a German plant, report the FT and City AM

It joins Nissan and Vauxhall which have this year both announced electric investments into their UK plants. BMW already makes the battery-powered Mini at its Oxford site. 

Hydrogen hiatus

However, the Telegraph reports Britain has been left out of an initial €2bn wave of hydrogen plants announced by Ineos. Factories will be built in Norway, Germany and Belgium to make zero-carbon green hydrogen. 

Although the company ais to invest in France and the UK, where the hydrogen business will be based, it has not give details of when.

Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe has warned that the UK risks bring left behind by Germany on hydrogen because the government in Berlin has invested more heavily in the gas.