Using data and analysis from UMAS, the UK Department for Transport established several commitments on ‘green corridors’ decarbonising key shipping routes globally.

The Clydebank Declaration is an ambitious global initiative led by the UK Department for Transport, encouraging and providing a process for governments to establish maritime ‘green corridors’ – specific maritime routes decarbonised from end to end, including both land-side infrastructure and vessels.

Green corridors are a critical tool for enabling early adoption of the long-run solutions that will be needed in international shipping. They will help gain important operational experience, reduce costs, and address safety issues of the zero and low GHG emission fuels.

By starting that effort now, through initiatives such as the Clydebank Declaration, there is a good chance of ensuring that at least 5% of shipping’s energy use is scalable zero emission fuels by 2030 – a target that UMAS and the UNFCCC High Level Climate Champions Race to Zero initiative has shown can put shipping on a pathway to full decarbonisation by 2050.

Analysis by UMAS has shown the potential for these routes globally – creating opportunities across several different ship types. We used satellite observations of individual ships to understand operating patterns, in combination with models for estimating their fuel consumption, and estimates of where the lowest cost hydrogen might be available, to identify which voyages might be easiest to decarbonise. The data included the recently launched Transition Strategy by UMAS for the Getting to Zero Coalition shows that there is at least 10% of shipping’s current fuel consumption that has a large early adoption opportunity. That data has been used both by government and industry to discuss how and where to identify opportunities for green corridors, which will continue to unlock further commitments and investment.

Camilo Velandia-Perico, Consultant at UMAS said “We now have large amounts of data to understand the scale and geography of opportunity. The analysis to identify not just what needs to be done, but where it can be done most easily, is important to help maximize what is achieved in this critical decade. While this piece of work highlights the prime candidate routes for a quick transition to SZEFs, it also brings light onto where the efforts on onshore infrastructure and fuel production should be made and on what magnitudes

The ultimate solution for shipping’s decarbonisation is IMO policy, which can ensure both widespread and global implementation of GHG reductions in shipping, but also help ensure this happens equitably. This process will however take time, and we need steps to be taken in the interim like this, by governments and those from the private sector, examples of which include Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) and First Movers Coalition – and they can support the IMO by providing evidence that can create confidence in member states in the technologies that shipping will need.

Read the full Clydebank Declaration