Los Angeles and Shanghai Plan World’s First Green Shipping Corridor 

first green shipping corridor between Los Angeles and Shanghai
Maersk is among the partners in the Los Angeles - Shanghai partnership for a Green Shipping Corridor (LA file photo)

Published Jan 31, 2022 6:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

Following on from the initiative launched at the COP26 conference to create zero-emissions shipping "corridors" between like-minded nations, Los Angeles and Shanghai announced a partnership of cities, ports, shipping companies, and cargo owners to create a first-of-its-kind “green shipping corridor” on one of the world’s busiest container shipping routes. The partnership, which includes shipping majors Maersk, CMA CGM, and COSCO Shipping Lines, calls for a plan by the end of this year and beginning the transition to zero-carbon fueled ships by 2030 for commercial shipping between Shanghai and Los Angeles.

The first of its kind initiative that lays out a specific shipping route to be decarbonized was led by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, part of an organization launched in 2019 by 100 of the world’s mayors to lead decarbonization efforts around the globe. The C40 Green Ports Forum, led by the city and Port of Los Angeles, seeks to connect port cities and ports around the world in implementing efforts that will mitigate air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and they were joined by the city and Port of Shanghai, through the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission, to form the partnership.

“By convening international coalitions of the willing and creating a scaleable and replicable model for other cities to follow we hope this ground-breaking green shipping corridor initiative will catalyze action on a global scale,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities. “Accelerating efforts to decarbonize the shipping sector is urgent if we are to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees.”

In November 2021, 22 signatories at the COP26 conference in Glasgow pledged to support the creation of at least half a dozen green corridors" by the middle of the decade, with an ambition to scale up and expand the scope of the initiative by 2030. In announcing their plan, they said it was intended to kick-start a market for net-zero propulsion technology in deep-sea trades. The concept is to use a public-private partnership between two major shipping ports to accelerate the technological, economic, and regulatory feasibility of zero-emissions ships that in turn would support the global spread of the technologies.

Under the agreement announced today, the ports and cities of Los Angeles and Shanghai along with the partners set the goal of developing a “Green Shipping Corridor Implementation Plan” by the end of 2022 that will include deliverables, milestones, and roles for the partnership. They envision the phasing in of low, ultra-low, and zero-carbon fueled ships through the 2020s, with the world’s first zero-carbon trans-Pacific containerships introduced by 2030 by qualified shipping lines. They plan to develop best management practices to help reduce emissions and improve efficiency for all ships using this international trade corridor as well as for the supply chain and port operations that they hope will become a model for others who follow this initiative. 

Other partners joining for this first of its kind initiative include the Shanghai International Ports Group, COSCO Shipping Lines, the Aspen Institute’s Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, facilitators of Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV), and the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre – Asia.