The SMM, the world’s largest shipping exhibition, has opened with the
presentation of the sixth Maritime Forecast to 2050. The report focused on
overcoming the issue of fuel availability, suggesting that the only way to deal
with it would be to build inter-industry alliances. Cross-sector cooperation will
therefore be fundamental to ease the path toward efficient decarbonisation
As the report discloses, net-zero fuels must be entering the shipping industry
this decade already, reaching the 5% target by 2030. Such ambitious goals,
however, require important investments, both onshore and offshore. According
to the estimations, and depending on the alternative fuel considered, the 2050
pathway scenario will require up to $28bn per year, with methanol or ammonia
being the most expensive alternatives for the moment.
The report warns it would still be hard to point out the best way to go among
the many different opportunities when it comes to alternative fuel: future
pricing and effective availability are still too uncertain.
Despite the high level of unpredictability, the transition toward greener
solutions has already started. Looking at the data, in fact, up to 5.5% of gross
tonnage ships in operation and 33% of gross tonnage on order are already
operating on alternative fuels.
The report also forecasted an overall 29.55% increase in seaborne trade in
tonne-miles by 2050, with most of it coming before 2030. Some segments,
such as gas and container trade, will outdo the average rate. Others, such as
demand for coal and oil, will instead peak.