Green shipping confab ends in Accra
A two-day conference to promote green shipping in Africa has ended in Accra. Organised by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in partnership with the Danish Embassy in Ghana and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the conference was attended by 120 delegates from 20 African countries.
The countries included Ghana, The Gambia, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria, as well as representation from the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) and the IMO.
It provided a forum to discuss opportunities and challenges for African countries in the decarbonisation of international shipping. It was on the theme, "Unlocking Opportunities for Green Shipping in Africa."
Participants discussed the global green transition as well as the opportunities and benefits for Africa based on IMO’s agenda of Seizing Opportunities for Developing Countries in the provision of "Zero Carbon Fuels".
The shipping sector, which transports about 90 per cent of world trade and accounts for nearly three per cent of the world's Co2 emissions, is under growing pressure from environmentalists to deliver more concrete action, including a carbon levy.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, said maritime transport continued to be the most economic and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation for large volumes of cargo.
“As the global regulator for shipping, IMO continues to ensure that the maritime sector delivers cargo safely, securely and sustainably around the world, with continuous improvements in efficiency,” he said.
He added that as shipping journey towards sustainability, it must embrace decarbonisation, alongside digitalisation and innovative technology, including automation – all the while ensuring that the human element was kept front and centre of the technological transition.
Mr Lim said the next five months were crucial to ensuring that IMO showcased its global leadership towards decarbonising shipping, indicating that the biggest challenge facing shipping was reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“It has, therefore, become important for the IMO to lead the way and provide a global framework for the maritime industry to strive for green shipping while ensuring no one is left behind,” Mr Lim said.
Mr Lim underscored the need for Africa to unlock new opportunities, particularly in renewable fuel production, retrofitting ships and digitalising port operations.
“IMO’s voyage towards decarbonisation has already begun with the latest set of short-term measures now in force, and I am convinced that these will drive innovation towards transforming shipping," he suggested.
As such, he said, the IMO was working to support that member states in the implementation of those measures, taking into account the outcome of the impact assessment to be carried out.
Mr Lim commended Ghana and other African countries for showing strong willingness and commitment to work with all stakeholders to explore and push towards renewable energy to ensure that maritime transport benefitted from the appropriate investment and technology transfer.