Singapore and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have jointly launched NextGEN Connect, which aims to bring industry stakeholders, academia and global research centres together to offer inclusive solutions for maritime decarbonization for trials along specific shipping routes. The launch was made during the IMO-Singapore Future of Shipping Conference: Decarbonisation (6 April).
Under NextGEN Connect, diverse stakeholders will be invited to propose robust methodologies to jointly develop, on a pilot basis, route-based action plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between specific points along a shipping route in the Asia-Pacific region. These proposals can be submitted via nextgen.imo.org/challenge.
Jointly introduced by IMO and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the NextGEN Connect Challenge is the next phase of the NextGEN initiative (“GEN” stands for “Green and Efficient Navigation”). Launched in September 2021, the NextGEN database (nextgen.imo.org/) currently lists more than 150 decarbonisation projects with more than 500 stakeholders worldwide, including IMO Member States, shipowners, technology developers, classification societies and non-governmental organisations.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, who delivered the conference’s opening remarks, said, “I am pleased to welcome the launch of the next stage of the NextGEN project. The transition to a decarbonized maritime sector cuts across all aspects of shipping – from the supply and use of fuels to safety matters, port operations and training of seafarers. The trials on use of new technologies and zero-carbon maritime fuels will support a safe shift, and we must ensure a just and equitable transition that recognizes the need for skills and technology development in developing countries. Collaboration, information sharing, and capacity-building are key to ensuring no one is left behind in the push for the decarbonization of the shipping sector.
Delivering the welcome address of the conference, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Singapore, said, “It is important for public and private stakeholders to work together in a collective and inclusive manner globally to accelerate the maritime sector’s transition towards a low-carbon future. NextGEN Connect serves as a collaborative platform that matches the challenges of sustainable shipping to diverse solution providers across borders and industries. The platform also shares innovative and successful projects that address common problems in shipping worldwide. In this way, no one is left behind on the access to creative sustainability solutions in achieving the goals of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy.”
In addition to NextGEN Connect, the preparatory phase of the IMO Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping (IMO CARES) Technical Cooperation Framework was also launched during the conference. This preparatory phase is financially supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Once fully designed IMO CARES will gather stakeholders and streamlines existing programmes to drive green technologies and their global deployment in developing regions.
The IMO-Singapore Future of Shipping Conference: Decarbonisation was held in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week 2022. Attended by some 700 guests onsite and virtually, the conference addressed technology, policy and funding gaps in maritime decarbonisation through market-based mechanisms and R&D. It also discussed the opportunities to drive maritime sustainability in an inclusive manner through capacity building, technological transfer, innovation and collaboration.