IMO-Singapore NextGEN Project Aims To Push Maritime Decarbonization

The NextGEN project, which aims to bring together decarbonization initiatives in the maritime sector, has held its first meeting, bringing together multiple stakeholders from across the global shipping community and the maritime value chain who have an interest in cutting greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and tackling climate change.

NextGEN – where GEN stands for “green and efficient navigation” – is led by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Government of Singapore. It aims to facilitate information sharing on various decarbonization initiatives in the global shipping community and across the maritime value chain, to identify opportunities for collaboration and gaps.

During the NextGEN meeting, some 70 participants discussed ways to ensure that no one is left behind in the maritime decarbonization process, and brainstormed actions needed to facilitate collaboration across the maritime and energy supply chain. Participants were also informed of plans to launch a NextGEN portal in the second half of 2021, to aid discussions and share ideas, facilitating coordination between complementary initiatives.

shipping, transport and seafaring concept - boats sailing in ocean
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The IMO-Singapore NextGEN aims to build partnerships between stakeholders in the public and private sectors, not only in the shipping industry and ports but also private and development banks, and academia. Among the participants in the first, inaugural NextGEN meeting were leaders from the regional Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs), established by IMO in 2017 under a European Union-funded project to drive forward the changes needed to reduce GHG emissions from shipping.

The NextGEN meeting was held during the Future of Shipping Conference (23 April), jointly organized by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and IMO to address both decarbonization and digitalization in the maritime sector. This is one of a number of initiatives to support the implementation of the Initial IMO Strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The Initial Strategy, adopted in 2018, calls for IMO Member States to cut GHG emissions and work towards phasing out GHG emissions from shipping entirely as soon as possible in this century.

Addressing the Conference, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “No single stakeholder can make decarbonization of shipping a reality by acting alone. This Conference and the NextGEN workshop are significant in bringing together many different stakeholders in the maritime sector to achieve a common goal.”

NextGEN holds first meeting_IMO-Singapore NextGEN Holds First Meeting To Push Maritime Decarbonization
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Mr. Lim added, “We all have a part to play in addressing challenges and pushing blue sky thinking to develop and implement solutions. To keep pace with the demands of the global economy and the expectations for sustainable growth, the maritime world needs to be in the forefront of transformational change. We need to facilitate decarbonization and enhance digitalization for safer, more environmentally friendly, and efficient shipping.” (The keynote speech by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim can be downloaded here.)

Speaking at the opening of the Conference, His Excellency Mr. Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, said, “Developments in shipping have a real impact on the development of economies and uplifting of lives around the world. With deep commitment to collaboration in decarbonization and digitalization, we can realize a better future for shipping and for the economies and people who depend on it.”

Closing the Conference, Mr. Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team, said, “It is increasingly clear that decarbonization of the global economy is inevitable and all sectors must act now. We urgently need all hands-on-deck to speed up this transition and ensure we keep the 1.5 C goal within reach.”

IMO projects supporting decarbonization

IMO capacity building projects are supporting developing countries – especially the SIDS and LDCS - to bring IMO energy efficiency measures into national law and to implement them. Current projects include:

IMO-Singapore NextGEN initiative, aiming to link key maritime stakeholders, decarbonization initiatives together and support further collaboration

  • IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2050 Project
  • IMO-EU GMN (Global Maritime Network of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres) project
  • Global Industry Alliance (GIA) to support low carbon shipping
  • IMO-UNDP-GEF GloFouling Project which addresses the issue of hull fouling that contributes to GHG emissions
  • IMO-Republic of Korea GHG-SMART project
  • IMO-EBRD-World Bank FIN-SMART roundtable
  • IMO-Germany Blue Solutions Project for Asia
  • IMO and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Maritime Zero- and Low-Emission Innovation Forum in September 2021


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