October 6, 2023

Shipping routes and maritime hubs’ actions to cut shipping’s GHG emissions examined at IMO-Singapore NextGEN Connect workshop in Singapore


The potential for shipping routes and maritime hubs actions to reduce shipping’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and support maritime decarbonization was examined during the IMO-Singapore NextGEN workshop held in Singapore on 5 to 6 October 2023.

The workshop was organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway. In line with the objectives in the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy, the aim was to raise awareness on actions to reduce GHG emissions from ships and foster cooperation along shipping routes with stakeholders across the whole value chain to aggregate demand and support energy transition.

Some 40 participants representing ports and national administrations responsible for policy development from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam participated in the two-day workshop. The Singapore-IMO Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) and the GreenVoyage2050 Project supported the participation of several countries.

A route-based action plan methodology presented at the workshop was developed by the Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonization Hub (LR MDH). LR MDH was the winner of the IMO-Singapore NextGEN Connect Challenge in April 2023 for their proposal on “Development of a Route-Based Action Plan Methodology based on Silk Alliance”. The workshop featured experience sharing and the presentation of case studies from the application of the methodology developed within the “The Silk Alliance”,  an Asian maritime cluster collaborating on route-based actions.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: ” The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy emphasizes the need for partnerships to promote zero and near-zero GHG emission technologies and fuels, and to create new opportunities, also for developing States, to take part in the value chan of the distribution of future fuels and technologies. IMO is pleased to provide practical support around the development and subsequent implementation of shipping routes measures which will facilitate the achievement of greener shipping and reduced emissions through the collaboration of the GreenVoyage2050 project and the IMO-Singapore NextGEN Connect initiative. IMO resolution on Voluntary National Action Plans to address GHG emissions from ships (MEPC resolution 367(79)) encourages governments and stakeholders to join efforts in undertaking such tangible GHG reduction efforts.”

Mr. Sveinung Oftedal, Chief Negotiator of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, said, “This workshop on shipping route actions was a great success for Norway, working together with Singapore, IMO, and several developing countries, to support the industry, and ports in particular, in their role in the industry’s decarbonisation.”

Mr. Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA, said: “We will need a collective and inclusive approach to enhance supply chains and examine cost-effective approaches to support the energy transition and decarbonize international shipping. The gathering of a multi-national group to examine route-based measures for the Asian region is encouraging, given the economic vibrancy and growth potential. MPA looks forward to continuing its collaboration with IMO and Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway to pilot solutions to reduce GHG emissions from ships and to catalyze innovations.”

During the workshop, MPA updated participants about its recently launched Just-In-Time (JIT) Planning and Coordination Platform for vessels calling at PSA terminals and Jurong Port. The JIT platform, developed by MPA under Phase 2 of digitalPORT@SGTM, aims to enhance the efficiency of port calls by enabling just-in-time arrivals, reducing business costs while also contributing to a reduction in vessels’ GHG emissions. The JIT platform will be extended progressively to all vessels calling at Singapore from January 2024.

Mr. Charles Haskell, Programme Director of LR MDH, said: “We are honoured to have this opportunity to collaborate with the IMO and the MPA to discuss the methodology that can be used to develop specific route-based action plans in the Asia Pacific region in an inclusive manner. The workshop is a perfect opportunity to initiate convening of collective action to cut GHG emissions from shipping by bringing in practical examples, such as the Silk Alliance. Through this engagement, we hope to encourage first movers in maritime decarbonization whilst supporting a just and equitable energy transition.”

Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 20 March 2023, the IMO GreenVoyage2050 project and NextGen Connect initiative are combining efforts and technical expertise to support the development and implementation of shipping routes and maritime hubs actions to reduce emissions from shipping. The collaboration is in building capacity, exchanging experience, knowledge and best practice, and undertaking joint resource mobilization with a view to supporting the development and establishment of measures. The collaboration is also exploring potential route-based actions between the Port of Singapore and one selected port in an IMO GreenVoyage2050 project partnering country within the Asia-Pacific region.

The IMO GreenVoyage2050 Project was established in May 2019 by IMO, with funding from the Government of Norway to support developing countries, including Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in meeting their commitment towards relevant climate change and energy efficiency goals for international shipping. GreenVoyage2050 was recently extended to run until 2030 and will support developing countries in achieving the Levels of Ambition set out in the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy.

The NextGEN Connect initiative was established between IMO and MPA Singapore and launched at Singapore Maritime Week 2022. The initiative aims to bring industry, academia and global research centres together, to offer inclusive solutions for maritime decarbonization for trials along shipping routes.

The International Maritime Organization is executing the GreenVoyage2050 Project through the Project Coordination Unit (PCU)
The work of GreenVoyage2050 is funded by contributions from multiple donors