Matching the specific needs of developing countries for domestic maritime emissions reduction with donors and technology providers is critical. The recent Cares Connect event held in London (27 September) enabled representatives from Africa and the Caribbean to discuss their domestic maritime GHG reduction needs – and hear from technology providers about their potential solutions as well as from donors.

The in-person event, organised by the IMO Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping (CARES) team, brought together stakeholders for back-to-back roundtable discussions moderated by members of the IMO Secretariat. Attendees included established donors for decarbonisation projects, representatives from regions that will execute the projects, and maritime decarbonisation technology providers seeking to service developing countries.

The event was declared “technology neutral” with all decarbonization options up for discussion. Stakeholders explored the application of shore power derived from renewable energy, solar panels, alternative fuels, electric propulsion and zero-emission vessels in maritime settings for both regions. Integrating wind and ocean thermal energy, biofouling prevention, data-driven fuel efficiency solutions, AI-enhanced routing and means to improve engine efficiency for smaller, domestic ship were also discussed. In many cases, stakeholders emphasised the need for pilot programmes to prove the efficacy of solutions and to create local appetite for suitable technologies by early movers.


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Participant consensus was that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have restricted resources (including financial, land constraints, insufficient access to renewable energy and limited services). The discussions therefore focused on solutions that can be implemented directly on board vessels – with port supply vessels, fishing vessels, superyachts, cruise ships and ferries identified as ideal vessel types to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new technologies.

Participants highlighted the need for greater education and awareness-building in developing countries to facilitate technology uptake and promote sustainable practices. Regulatory support and appropriate policies will play a large role in transitioning the maritime sectors in developing regions – as will funding of these new technologies and supporting infrastructure. The last point will be addressed to some extent by the IMO CARES Marine Technology Global Challenge which will provide four prizes totalling $60,000 in funding to technology providers for creating proposals to implement suitable, cost effective GHG reduction solutions in two countries in Africa and the Caribbean.


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The Global Challenge will open for entries in early November 2023. The IMO CARES team will announce the members of the judging panel and the names of the two recipient countries on a dedicated website for the IMO CARES project.

IMO CARES is funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and aims to support developing countries to meet the IMO Energy Efficiency and IMO GHG Strategy targets and thus help drive the achievement of global GHG emissions reduction.

Source: IMO


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Issue 87 of Robban Assafina

(Sept./ Oct. 2023)


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