Sweden plots course to zero-emissions shipping

The Swedish Shipowners’ Association is currently preparing a road map with the government initiative Fossil Free Sweden to totally decarbonise domestic shipping by 2045, five years ahead of the International Maritime Organisation’s deadline for a mere halving of emissions.
With a goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045, Sweden aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport 70% by 2030, despite freight being expected to increase by around half over the same period.
The road map for domestic shipping will not be published in its entirety until the spring, but the two organisations behind it outlined the seven areas in which the industry will have to act in the Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri over the weekend.
While acknowledging that more road transport will be necessary, they argue that shipping is under utilised, especially as sea freight is more energy efficient. Global shipping accounts for 90% of all freight transport but only 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the main political proposals is to create an industry-supported carbon dioxide fund, to support investments in technology that will reduce the climate impact of shipping.
Fairway dues – fees paid by shippers to cover the cost of state-funded infrastructure – could be differentiated in favour of vessels using alternative fuels. while promoting the production of domestic renewable fuels, such as biofuels and electricity, the organisations said.
They mooted tax exemptions for electricity in ports for vessels whose gross tonnage is below 400 when charging batteries for electrically powered ships and for directly transferred electricity to cable ferries.
State funding would be earmarked to meet the need for a special research and innovation programme for energy-efficient and fossil-free shipping, and to encourage more marine transport, the marginal cost of calling at ports should also decrease.
Finally, to create fairer conditions between different modes of transport, the outline of the road suggests ice-breaking and piloting should be treated as state infrastructure and paid for by society at large, in the same way as snow clearing of roads.
The Fossil Free Sweden initiative has already worked with a number of business sectors to draw up decarbonisation road maps, from aviation and forestry to cement production. Besides shipping, it is currently working on plans for the IT, heating and aggregates sectors.

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