Is zero carbon shipping even possible?

In terms of volume, 90% of all goods worldwide are transported by shipping. Globalization relies on moving goods across oceans, such as oil, computers, clothes, and food, making almost anything more affordable and easier to obtain. The shipping of goods by sea, however, consumes roughly 300 million tons of very dirty fuel. International maritime shipping produces nearly 3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, giving it a carbon footprint similar to the one of a mid-sized country. We raise numerous questions, is zero carbon shipping even possible? Here at Easy Move Kuwait, we will uncover what are the biggest problems and resolutions to reduce carbon emissions.

Problems in decarbonization

Decarbonizing shipping is essential for reaching net zero. However, a couple of major issues stand in the way. It’s very hard for the ocean and air industries to decarbonize. In addition to requiring enormous amounts of fuel for international travel, the question of who is responsible for emissions remains unanswered. Crucial questions are:

  • what technologies should we use
  • is there a global agreement
  • and finally, is zero carbon shipping even possible

    Polluted air makes you question is zero carbon shipping even possible
    Carbon emissions are inevitable, but it begs the question, is zero carbon shipping even possible?

Insufficient technology

When using logistic services for transporting goods, you will most likely use a cargo ship. This is why it’s important to understand that it is common for ship engines to burn low-grade, carbon-heavy fuel oils, which create a large amount of air pollution. The sea freight industry is turning existing ships to run on LNG (liquid natural gas) instead of buying new ships. LNG still emits methane into the atmosphere, even though it emits fewer carbon emissions than current low-grade fuel. Heat-trapping methane is roughly 30 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. An important obstacle to decarbonizing shipping is the lack of zero-carbon technologies.

Worldwide disagreement

A difficult aspect of reducing emissions in shipping is deciding which country should be responsible for the emissions. Shipping came under fire from Mr. de Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who said the industry was not doing enough to fight global warming. Where is the fuel sold, what is their country of origin, and the destination of their products, etc? These are all the questions that should be taken into consideration when deciding who is “guilty”. Individual countries would have radically different responsibilities and costs for emissions under each option.

Is zero carbon shipping even possible?

There is a challenge facing the shipping industry. Within the lifespan of today’s new-build ships, fossil fuels must be phased out as the dominant source of marine energy. Policy, financial, and technical unpredictability must follow this move. The majority of shipowners agreed that a carbon price would be a suitable way to solve the emissions problem. There are also ways to achieve zero-carbon shipping.

Changes in policy

Shipping’s decarbonization targets should be to accelerate to net-zero emissions as part of a growing political and commercial agreement. This effectively doubles the ambitious goals of the current international agreement. There is still uncertainty surrounding the regulatory piece of the industry’s decarbonization. Companies will continue to face risks. Leaders in the industry agree that early progress is not solely dependent upon global regulations. The price gap between green fuels and dirty fuels will remain for decades without new policies, which will hinder the decarbonization of shipping and the growth of the global economy.

Airplane fling over cargo boats
As international trade increases and other sectors decarbonize, shipping will contribute 17% of emissions by 2050

Stakeholder collaboration

Supply chain management must extend beyond shipping borders. Maritime is not the only industry or sector facing the decarbonization challenge. We need to accelerate research and development. To achieve system demonstrations, cross-industry needs collaboration. Governments must play a greater role in promoting first-mover activity, collaborating with industry and finance early on. In the search for a more efficient supply chain, it is also necessary for companies to work together to build new business models. International shipping Kuwait works on development using the most out of collaborations and support from the government.

New technologies

The ship engine constructors are still working to create commercial technologies that create alternative, zero-emission fuels, such as hydrogen and ammonia. Freight forwarding companies in Kuwait are also working toward using these alternatives. It is still early in the development of zero-carbon vessels. It is becoming increasingly apparent, however, that multiple fuels and infrastructures will be required, not least because there will be a global competition for the supply of zero-carbon fuels.

Consequently, the transition will be costly and complex, with near-term strategies focused on energy efficiency and retrofitting, and the midterm transition dominated by dual- or tri-fuel tonnage. According to the leaders interviewed, they plan to lower the costs of fuels. Use fuels like green hydrogen-based, by increasing the scale of production of hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels.


For shipping’s accelerating zero-carbon transition to become a reality, we need more transparency on the pricing of sustainability risks. However, the largest investments will be made in land-side assets and the ultimate scalability and speed of land-side infrastructure. Traditional ownership models change by the zero-carbon transition. But decarbonization alone is not a business strategy, and shipping’s ability to yield a return on invested capital will not improve just because fuels change.

Cargo boat on sea
There are steps we can take if we want to achieve zero carbon shipping, and it’s possible with new policies and technologies

Change in demand

The pathway to zero carbon will require a regulatory framework that places carbon pricing at its core. Before immediate regulatory certainty, shippers must invest. To catalyze collective investment, reduce costs, and scale pilot projects, we need clear signals from shipowners and cargo owners.

The establishment of long-term offtake agreements for zero-emission fuels by first movers is essential before the first vessel becomes operational. However, the industry needs to scale up projects more rapidly, especially in infrastructure where funding requirements are the greatest. With this in mind, we are able to answer the question, is zero carbon shipping even possible? With new policies and technologies- yes!