Date: 15/05/2024

Huge economic potential seen in decarbonisation of shipping: Report 

The Global Maritime Forum has revealed the immense economic potential presented by the decarbonisation of shipping. New analysis, commissioned by the Global Maritime Forum and conducted by Arup, projects that the maritime sector’s transition to e-fuels could support up to four million new green jobs by 2050, double the number of seafarers serving globally. Job creation will be seen across the three main phases of the supply chain: renewable energy generation, hydrogen production and e-fuel production.
The shipping industry is currently responsible for 3% of global CO2 emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan. As the backbone of the global economy – responsible for 80% of global trade – the industry has faced enormous pressure to rapidly decar
bonise. In 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s member states agreed an end date to fossil fuel consumption “by or around” 2050.
Achieving this target will require large volumes of scalable zero emission fuels, a significant share of which will be e-fuels based on hydrogen. Projections show that shipping’s demand for e-fuels could rapidly scale to over 500 million tonnes by 2040, rising to 600 million tonnes by 2050. Meeting such demand could require an additional 2TW of renewable energy generation capacity, and 1TW of hydrogen production capacity by 2050.
Maritime transition is a trillion-dollar market opportunity
The analysis, titled Green Jobs and Maritime Decarbonisation, focuses on renewable energy and fuel production linked to e-fuels, adopting an illustrative scenario where e-fuels become the energy source for international shipping. In this scenario, up to £3.2 trillion of investment is required to support the development of renewable infrastructure, hydrogen production and fuel production facilities for e-ammonia for shipping.
This significant capital investment will have a dramatic impact on the creation of green jobs across the supply chain. It also has the potential to create immense benefits to the wider economy, furthering climate action, whilst also supporting the development of renewable energy projects and the uptake of green hydrogen across other sectors.
Creating green jobs across the supply chain 
Providing shipping decarbonisation keeps track with the IMO’s ‘striving indicative checkpoints’. The new data provides an outline of the growth of green jobs from the 2020s through the 2040s for each of the main areas of the supply chain – renewable energy generation, hydrogen production and e-fuel production.
Due to the rapid scaling of e-fuel uptake during the 2030s, it’s predicted that this decade will see the creation of the most green jobs across each area of the supply chain – an upper bound range of between 1 m and 4 m jobs worldwide. This will be supported by over £2.2 trillion of capital investment in the development of renewables and infrastructure, and a huge build-out of energy and fuel capacity – 1,500 GW of renewable energy generation, 800 GW of green hydrogen and 530 Mtpa of green ammonia.
Job numbers are likely to be smaller in the 2020s and ultimately reduce in the 2040s, as capital investment reduces. A large proportion of these jobs, however, will be transferable to other sectors and will ultimately support the development of wider renewable energy capacity; aiding decarbonisation efforts across other sectors.
More attention required to map green jobs potential in maritime  
As trillions of capital investment gets funnelled into green fuels for the maritime sector, stimulating the creation of green jobs can help countries transition away from fossil fuels, whilst providing a direct, quantifiable contribution to a country’s economy.
Investments in the Global South in particular, where climate provides the greatest conditions for e-fuel production, have shown to contribute significantly toward higher job creation, relative to an equivalent investment in a country in the Global North. This suggests a higher potential for developing countries to leverage investments towards wider green job creation.
The Global Maritime Forum has called for further research and analysis on the role of other future fuels, beyond e-fuels, in the creation of quality green jobs, as well as building a stronger understanding of the different geographical implications relating to the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, said a release.
source: Exim News Service: Copenhagen, May 14