The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in Pittsburgh last week saw the official launch of the Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative. The goal is to advance the production, export and import of low-carbon fuels. Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the first countries to back the plans.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), along with the CEO-led Clean Energy Maritime Taskforce, unveiled the “Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative” on 23 September at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in Pittsburgh.

The Initiative will be a convening platform for public and private senior-level stakeholders from the ports, shipping, finance, and energy sectors across the energy-maritime value chain. The Initiative is to catalyse the supply of green fuels to support the global energy transition.

Also read: Clean Energy Marine Hubs to address shipping’s future fuels conundrum

Green marine hubs

The initial concept for creating green marine hubs was announced earlier this year as a forum to enable policy makers and industry stakeholders to quickly unlock clean energy deployment. This new announcement represents the next step in the development of an initiative that will help unlock the potential for global adoption of zero-emission fuels.

CEM is a meeting of 29 energy ministers from leading governments, as part of the US Department of Energy’s Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF). The Forum brings together advocates from the energy community to share ideas on how to deliver a successful global green transition.

Also read: ‘Key role of ports in unlocking investment in future fuel infrastructure’

Canada and UAE to establish a pathway

Representatives of the maritime sector anticipate the participation of Canada and the UAE to establish a “pathway” for others to follow. The broader goals of the Initiative were also discussed at a plenary session organised by ICS. Key objectives include facilitating information and knowledge exchange on policies, programmes, and decarbonisation projects to de-risk investment and accelerate the commercial deployment of alternative fuels and technologies across countries.

Recent research from the International Renewable Energy Agency has emphasised the importance of shipping’s role in the global green transition. By 2050, the shipping industry is expected to transport at least fifty per cent of all traded zero-carbon fuels.

The Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative is backed by more than 150 CEOs and government representatives, who voted to take forward plans for its creation at an ICS summit in June this year.

‘Resolving the energy transition challenge for shipping and the wider world requires broad-looking, multi-sector solutions,’ says Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director of the IAPH. ‘Ports have a vital role to play, not only as bunker infrastructure providers but as new energy hubs in order for the economics around zero emissions fuels to work. Securing the backing of national governments, like that of Canada and the UAE today, will help kickstart collaboration between energy producers and the entire maritime value chain in getting those first hubs established.’

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS, adds: ‘To be successful we need to target our activities towards the transition of the whole zero-emission fuels market. The Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative will not only support the global clean energy transition but will propel the development of the zero emissions infrastructure that we can all benefit from.’

Also read: ICS: Shipping frustrated by IMO rejection of R&D Fund to catalyse decarbonisation