Staying afloat – low carbon challenges for maritime transportation

Early this week, BC Transit announced its intention to move its bus fleet to a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. This was driven in part by an infusion of funding from the federal and BC governments – see more here. These kinds of commitments are relatively easy when the location of services and ownership, as well as the point of regulation are clear. When it comes to maritime shipping, however, there are a whole set of challenges difficult to address.

 As an example, Maersk – the world’s largest container shipping company – has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050. This article delves into the challenges it faces, including the long lifecycle of large ships, the lack of existing reasonably cost-effective zero-carbon technology for ships, and the potential for regulation to ramp up in the space. The International Maritime Organization or IMO recently brought in regulations to cap emissions from several air pollutants, and carbon-targeting regulations are on the horizon. This ‘perfect storm’ will hopefully lead to further innovation in the space, accelerating decarbonization in the shipping sector.