COP28: Belgium takes up the Green Shipping Challenge again this year

The maritime sector faces a major challenge: emissions must be drastically reduced. That is why Norway and the United States launched the Green Shipping Challenge at COP27 last year. Progress will be discussed at COP28 in Dubai. Belgium submitted three contributions with regard to energy transition and inclusion, confirming its leading role in the transition to green shipping. 

COP28 and the Green Shipping Challenge 

From 30 November to 12 December, Dubai hosts COP28, the annual climate summit, where representatives from 200 countries discuss climate action. Initiatives are also being taken regarding the maritime sector. Indeed, the maritime sector faces a major challenge. Current measures are insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5°C. On the contrary. In fact, emissions are still rising slightly.

From that consideration, the United States and Norway launched the Green Shipping Challenge at COP27 last year. The goal? Encouraging governments, companies and ports to prepare commitments that stimulate the transition to green shipping. 

Belgium as a pioneer 

Globally, Belgium is taking a leading role in that transition by innovating and investing in the shipping of the future. Our country submitted three contributions with regard to forward-looking projects, both from the public authorities and from shipowners and ports. The focus this year is on energy transition and inclusion.

Belgian fleet on its way to zero emissions 

First, Belgium’s leading shipowners, such as CMB and Exmar, are not only known for the transport of bulk and liquefied gas in the whole world, but are also actively committed to emission-free shipping. They placed orders for ammonia-fuelled ships, with delivery expected between 2025 and 2026.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges plays a key role in energy transition 

A second project is that of the Belgian Hydrogen Import Coalition, comprising Port of Antwerp-Bruges, DEME, Engie, Exmar, Fluxys and WaterstofNet. That coalition has recently drawn up a detailed roadmap for the import of hydrogen in Belgium. With countries such as Chile, Namibia, Oman, Brazil and Canada, partnerships for the import of hydrogen have been established and strengthened.

For instance, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges has recently renewed agreements with the Chilean Ministry of Energy to strengthen cooperation on common port infrastructure and increase stakeholder involvement in clean shipping. Agreements have also been reached on the exchange of best practices, including experiences with Hydrotug 1, the world’s first hydrogen-powered tugboat.

Belgium commits to inclusion in the fight against climate change 

Finally, developing countries are sometimes hit hard by climate change but do not always have the resources to have their interests defended. Belgium recognises the value of their contributions in getting the maritime sector on course towards zero emissions. That is why this year our country is contributing € 200,000 to the Voluntary Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which supports these countries to participate in climate negotiations at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).