The Sea Cargo Charter sets a new benchmark for transparent climate reporting and bringing efficiency and emissions to the fore in decision making during vessel selection

A group of the world’s largest energy, agriculture, mining, and commodity trading companies, will for the first time assess and disclose the climate alignment of their shipping activities. The shipping of crude oil, coal, iron ore, grain and other bulk commodities used worldwide make up over 80% of global seaborne trade. The Sea Cargo Charter is a global framework that allows for the integration of climate considerations into chartering decisions to favor climate-aligned maritime transport.
The Charter establishes a common baseline to quantitatively assess and disclose whether shipping activities are aligned with adopted climate goals, consistent with the policies and ambitions adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which includes GHG emissions from shipping to peak as soon as possible and to reduce shipping’s total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 on 2008 levels, with a strong emphasis on zero emissions.

Jean-Marc Bonello, Consultant, UMAS said “The Sea Cargo Charter is a big step towards transparency around the carbon intensity of maritime transport which will be integral to decision-makers throughout supply chains leading to better performance being rewarded accordingly. Vetting vessels for carbon intensity needs to become as common as vetting for safety.

UCL Energy Institute/UMAS led the development of the methodology and metrics for assessment and alignment in the Sea Cargo Charter. The drafting group included a number of stakeholders including major global shippers – Anglo American, Cargill Ocean Transportation, Dow, Norden, Total, Trafigura – and leading industry players – Euronav, Gorrissen Federspiel, Stena Bulk – with expert support provided by the Global Maritime Forum, Smart Freight Centre, and Stephenson Harwood.

The incentives for shipping to clean up it’s act do not end here. Last month a new initiative targeted at the container shipping sector (as Sea Cargo Charter is focused on bulk customers) promised to gather the biggest and powerful brands to use their buying power to speed the transition to Zero Emission Vessels. The Cargo Owners Zero Emission Vessel Initiative (coZEV) a highly ambitious platform launched by the Aspen Institute to develop and make joint commitments for provide specific volume of freight to the first zero-ready ocean-going vessel(s), setting target for exclusively buying zero emission maritime freight by a future year and urging carriers to meet GHG reduction benchmarks now using Science Based Targets.