A collaborative approach with cargo owners and agreement on the cost and value in achieving emission reductions is also an important pre-requisite said Ingrid Kylstad, Sustainability Lead in ZeroLab by Klaveness.
Noting the importance of supply chain acceptance in the decarbonisation drive, Kylstad said outside of the European Union and its emissions trading scheme, there needs to be greater understanding from cargo owners on the costs of decarbonisation.
Although she preferred IMO-mandated moves, Kylstad said she was in favour of putting in place global carbon pricing schemes now because "we need to find a way to get it started" while also pushing the entire industry to move forward at the same time so that there will be fair competition and cheaper, less regulated shipping will not be able to take advantage.
There has been some discussion on this issue at the IMO level, where on 13 June member states proposed a carbon tax of at least $100 per tonne on the industry's emissions, but getting new regulations passed generally takes a long time at the global maritime body.
IMO air pollution and energy efficiency head Roel Hoenders emphasised the importance of a level playing field and a global regulatory framework while noting that there are proposals on the table to achieve this. He however admitted that there are still some governments in the organisation that are sitting on the fence because of concerns about the impact on their national interests.
In what almost sounds like an alignment with shipowners, IKEA global sustainability head Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld said that she believed sustainable transportation solutions should be the default option and should not come at a premium.
She said that investments and collaboration are needed to achieve this and that the company would be willing to put in the investment needed to co-create solutions.
CMA CGM vice-president of bunkering and energy transition Farid Trad also pointed out the need for clear regulations. Echoing Munck af Rosenschöld's remarks that technical solutions for decarbonisation are achievable and attainable, Tarad noted that collaboration from all stakeholders is needed to deploy these solutions.
He noted the importance of collaboration in working with customers, suppliers and regulators and supported a global approach to ensure a level playing field.
Tarad gave the example of CMA CGM's adoption of bioenergy, where although there are many opportunities, a coherent regulatory framework and level playing field is required before the company can invest in vessels for the future.
Meanwhile, greater acceptance of innovations and new technology is also needed if decarbonisation solutions are to be found.
Marine Design and Research Institute of China deputy director Wang Jinbao highlighted the importance of ammonia and hydrogen as future fuels for example. He projected that the first zero emission vessel could become a reality in five to ten years, depending on societal acceptance and regulatory guidelines being put in place.