The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) has recently approved the Clean Energy Marine Hubs initiative (CEM-Hubs) during a global energy summit held in Goa, India, as announced by the International Association of Ports & Harbors (IAPH) on July 21st. This groundbreaking initiative aims to bring together both private sector entities and governments involved in the energy and maritime sectors to facilitate the transition towards low-carbon marine fuels in the future.

The CEM-Hubs initiative has received initial support from countries such as Canada, Norway, Panama, Uruguay, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additionally, it operates in collaboration with organizations like the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Association of Ports & Harbors (IAPH). It is worth noting that this partnership is a joint effort involving both private sector and government entities.

The current infrastructure within the energy-maritime value chain is insufficient to handle the expected surge in demand for low-carbon fuels by 2050. The shipping industry is projected to transport at least 50% of all traded low-carbon fuels by that time, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). However, the necessary production facilities, vessels, and port infrastructure are currently lacking on a commercial scale.

To facilitate the global transition toward achieving net-zero emissions, the shipping industry is expected to transport between two to five times the amount of low-carbon fuels it consumes by 2050. Moreover, the types of fuels transported by ships will need to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The CEM-Hub meeting in Goa marked the first gathering of participants in this initiative. It is noteworthy that the initiative was adopted in less than a year after its initial presentation, highlighting the urgency and significance of addressing the challenges within the energy-maritime sector. The progress and developments of the CEM-Hubs initiative will be showcased at the upcoming COP28 conference in Dubai.

Furthermore, this initiative enjoys support from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD).

Jean-François Gagné, Head of Secretariat, Clean Energy Ministerial, said: “Ports, shipping, and the logistics network need to be an integral part of the global clean energy transition. The Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative is a truly public-private platform between energy, maritime, shipping and finance communities. It represents a unique opportunity to develop concrete implementable actions to ensure greener supply chains globally.”

Patrick Verhoeven, IAPH Managing Director, commented: “It will be the role of shipping and the ports that serve them to become the enablers of the energy transition by offering the capacity to transport what is expected to be 50% of all global zero-carbon fuels. For candidate countries this presents a golden opportunity to develop the hub concept as catalysts of economic growth and prosperity for their citizens.”

Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, commented: “According to IRENA, at least half of net-zero fuels needed in 2050 are expected to be moved by ships. This speaks to shipping’s critical and integral role at the energy-transport nexus. To decarbonise the energy value chain, it is thus imperative for shipping to be at the table, alongside fuel producers, demand drivers, regulators and policy makers so gaps can be identified early and addressed holistically.”


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