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Maersk Supports Proposed U.S. Clean Shipping Act

US Clean Shipping Act
Maersk is supporting U.S. legislation to reduce carbon intensity in shipping fuels and in-port emissions (AMP Terminals Los Angeles)

Published Sep 21, 2022 11:57 AM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk is supporting proposed legislation in the U.S. that calls for the setting of a deadline to end in-port carbon emissions and the phased reduction of carbon intensive in fuels used by ships. The Clean Shipping Act was introduced in July 2022 to the U.S. House of Representatives by two California members of Congress representing districts that include the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

"Now is the time for action and we urge the United States Congress to pass this legislation to achieve a 45 percent decrease on carbon dioxide equivalent reductions by 2030," said Doug Morgante, A.P. Møller-Maersk Vice President of U.S. Government Relations. "The most significant challenge is the availability and cost competitiveness of the green fuels necessary to reach our targets. It is fundamental that leading governments, such as the U.S., and industry work together to accomplish long-term solutions.”

Congressman Alan Lowenthal introduced the bill saying it aims to clean up the shipping industry, which on its own produces more emissions than all but five individual countries in the world. Co-sponsor Congresswoman Nanette Barragán highlighted that the legislation would also protect the health of port communities, address environmental injustice, and provide solutions to the climate crisis.

“I applaud Maersk for taking this stand and acknowledging we are facing a tipping point in the climate crisis,” said Congressman Lowenthal. “We don’t have to choose between a healthy shipping industry and a healthy climate. No emissions sources can go overlooked. My Clean Shipping Act is the right policy for the future of our planet, for the health of our communities, and ultimately for the resiliency of goods movement.”

The two key elements of the bill focus on the carbon intensity of shipping fuels and in-port ship emissions. By January 1, 2030, all ships at-berth or at-anchor in U.S. ports would be required to emit zero GHG emissions and zero air pollutant emissions. 

In addition, the bill sets progressively tighter carbon intensity standards for fuels used by ships which according to the co-sponsors are designed to be consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius decarbonization pathway. The legislation starts by requiring carbon dioxide-equivalent reductions of 20 percent from January 1, 2027, relative to the 2024 emissions baseline. The standards get progressively stricter moving to 45 percent from January 1, 2030, 80 percent from January 1, 2035, and 100 percent from January 1, 2040.

Ships would also have a reporting requirement. They would have to detail the carbon intensity of the fuel used on each voyage, the amount of fuel used, and the total greenhouse gas emissions measured in carbon dioxide equivalent for all covered voyages.

“The Clean Shipping Act of 2022 is bold legislation that will make the United States a global climate leader in addressing pollution from the shipping industry and protect the health of port communities in Los Angeles and around the country,” said Congresswoman Barragán. Announcing her co-sponsorship, she called the bill “is a big step forward for climate-smart ports and a clean energy future for every community.”

The legislation, if passed, would become an amendment to the U.S. Clear Air Act, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It would pertain to all ships over 400 gross tons but the EPA would retain regulatory discretion to ensure the continued success of the ocean freight system through the transition, while achieving maximum carbon reductions.