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Shipping Decarbonization Impact on Inflation, says Industry CEO

Decarbonizing the shipping industry will likely result in an inflationary impact on consumers, warns Bertrand Chen, CEO of the Global Shipping Business Network. He emphasized that new European rules effectively taxing shipping lines for emissions will increase costs. Starting January 2024, the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) will extend to the shipping industry, charging large ships entering EU ports for their carbon dioxide emissions. Chen sees this as a natural action that will lead to interesting effects, noting that shipping lines are investing in methanol ships to comply with decarbonization efforts. While some actively invest, others take a more passive approach and wait to see how the situation unfolds. The EU initiative requires shipping lines to prove their commitment to decarbonization, leading to increased interest in alternative fuels like methanol. Maersk, for instance, launched its first vessel with an engine fueled by green methanol in September, though concerns about the supply of this alternative fuel have been raised.

Chen believes that in a world where everyone needs to become decarbonized, proof of sustainable practices will be essential for consumers. Shoppers may be willing to spend more on items produced or shipped in an environmentally friendly manner, but they will require reliable proof due to the risk of greenwashing. Chen suggested that using blockchain to store and provide access to legal and financial documents could help the shipping industry offer this proof. Maritime nations agreed in July to reduce emissions “by or around 2050,” according to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.

The impact of decarbonization efforts on the shipping industry is significant, and as regulations tighten, companies are exploring alternative fuels and technologies to align with sustainability goals. The shift toward cleaner practices, while essential for the environment, is expected to influence costs throughout the supply chain, potentially affecting end consumers.

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