Written by

Nick Blenkey

Picture: UNCTAD

Not that you just’d understand it from any pleasure within the streets, however at this time, September 28, is World Maritime Day and, forward of it, UNCTAD, the UN Convention on Commerce and Improvement, yesterday launched its Evaluate of Maritime Transport 2023.

As ever, it’s a mine of statistical data, and a few of the take-aways from these stats underscore the necessity for transport to speed up its decarbonization efforts.

“Maritime transport must decarbonize as quickly as attainable, whereas guaranteeing financial development,” stated UNCTAD Secretary-Basic Rebeca Grynspan. “Balancing environmental sustainability, regulatory compliance and financial calls for is important for a affluent, equitable and resilient future for maritime transport.”

Whereas the transition to cleaner fuels is in its early phases, with practically 99% of the worldwide fleet nonetheless reliant on typical fuels, the report cites promising developments, together with 21% of vessels on order being designed for various fuels.


On the opposite facet of the coin, the inexperienced transition comes with substantial prices. UNCTAD studies that a further $8 billion to $28 billion will likely be required yearly to decarbonize ships by 2050, and much more substantial investments, starting from $28 billion to $90 billion yearly, will likely be wanted to develop infrastructure for 100% carbon-neutral fuels by 2050.

Full decarbonization may elevate annual gas bills by 70% to 100%, doubtlessly affecting small island growing states (SIDS) and least developed international locations (LDCs) that closely depend on maritime transport.

To make sure an equitable transition, UNCTAD requires a common regulatory framework relevant to all ships, no matter their registration flags, possession or operational areas, thereby avoiding a two-speed decarbonization course of and sustaining a stage taking part in area.

“Financial incentives, reminiscent of levies or contributions paid in relation to transport emissions might incentivize motion, can promote the competitiveness of different fuels and slender the fee hole with typical heavy fuels,” stated Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of know-how and logistics. “These funds may additionally facilitate investments in ports in SIDS and LDCs, specializing in local weather change adaptation, commerce and transport reforms, in addition to digital connectivity.”


UNCTAD can also be involved by the ageing international transport fleet – in the beginning of 2023, business ships have been on common 22.2 years previous, two years older than a decade in the past. Greater than half of the world’s fleet is over 15 years previous.

Ship house owners face the problem of renewing the fleet with out readability concerning various fuels, inexperienced know-how and regulatory regimes to information ship house owners and ports, whereas port terminals face related challenges in very important funding choices.


Pushed by persevering with disruptions from the conflict in Ukraine, oil cargo distances reached an all-time excessive in 2022, and shipments of grain in 2023 have travelled additional than in any yr on document, as grain importing international locations have been pressured to hunt various exporters such because the US and Brazil, which require long-haul transport.

  • Extra, rather more than we will summarize right here, within the full report, obtain it HERE