Support grows for USD 5 billion research fund to decarbonise shipping as Denmark joins major shipping nations

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Washington, D.C./Brussels/ Singapore, 15 March 2021 - The proposal to create a USD 5 billion USD International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) was submitted to the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on the 10th of March 2021 by Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Palau, Singapore, and Switzerland. Denmark now joins as a co-sponsor, and we expect several other nations to voice their support for the proposal at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in June.

“The sponsoring nations have done a very thorough job, mapping out in detail the framework required to get the R&D programme up and running as quickly as possible. We are very pleased to see Denmark’s support, as one of the leading maritime nations. The IMRB is a crucial step on the path to decarbonise shipping, and we have no time to lose if we are to meet the UN climate goals,” says John Butler, CEO of WSC.

The GHG reductions required to meet the IMO’s 2050 50% reduction and zero-carbon emissions goals will only be achieved if technologies are developed that enable ships to use the zero-carbon fuels that are critical to a transition in the sector. There are several potential solutions, but the technologies to use these fuels do not yet exist in a scale or form that can be applied to large transoceanic ships.  A host of complex technical questions remain to be answered.

The IMRB is an IMO-supervised, industry financed, USD 5 billion programme that will drive the progress needed to build a zero-carbon shipping industry.

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The mature regulatory proposal from a coalition of leading shipping nations and developing countries - Georgia, Greece, Denmark, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland - includes a new draft Chapter 6 to Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention. It is also co-sponsored by all the world’s major international shipowners’ associations: BIMCO, Cruise Lines International Association, IMCA, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, IPTA and World Shipping Council. The new proposal addresses various legal operational, administrative, legal and governance aspects put forward by governments at MEPC 75.

Anna Larsson  
Communications Director 
Tel: +47 484 06 919 

About World Shipping Council 
The World Shipping Council is the united voice of liner shipping, working with policymakers and industry groups to shape the future growth of a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, safe, and secure shipping industry. We are a non-profit trade association with offices in Brussels, Singapore and Washington, D.C. Read more at