The vital role of shipping in reducing global GHG emissions and contributing to the circular economy

  • 05 December 2023
  • 05 December 2023
  • Dubai
  • UAE
  • Bev Mackenzie

Organised by BIMCO and the Vanderbilt Climate Change Initiative, Vanderbilt University.

One of the main focuses on the path to decarbonisation of the shipping industry is the implementation of operational measures to maximise efficiency and reduce emissions. What is crucial is that this happens now, in parallel to near-zero and zero-carbon fuels of the future being developed on a scale large enough to meet the needs. However, the story of shipping decarbonisation extends beyond this immediate focus. Ships are indispensable in the fight against climate change – they play a crucial role in the global supply chain – and will be essential for transporting alternative fuels of the future to where they are needed, as well as keeping the world supplied with food and other vital goods. Additionally, they can provide a considerable amount of recyclable material, such as steel, when they reach the end of their operational lives. 

In this side event, we will take you on a journey. This journey will commence at the early stages of a ship's life - starting with its design, progressing through its lifespan while it operates as efficiently as possible, and following it until it reaches the end of its life. The journey ends when the ship is recycled, contributing to the circular economy through the repurposing of its steel.  Our journey will travel the globe - from the maritime hubs of North America to the recycling yards of Asia. Problem-solving will be at the heart of our discussion, including how public-private partnerships can facilitate the decarbonisation of shipping. We will evaluate the current state of play and achievements and discuss the steps needed to enable ship recycling to play a significant role in the circular economy and associated GHG reductions. 

Moderated by Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General, BIMCO 

The first half of the session will focus on the particular challenges (and opportunities!) for decarbonisation that are unique to North America. With efforts underway and emerging for increased collaboration between the North American maritime shipping value chain and the US government the speakers will discuss public-private partnerships, green shipping corridors, and introduce the role of recycling. Speakers will include:

  • Jennifer States, Vice President, Blue Sky Maritime Coalition
  • Panos Koutsourakis, Vice President, Global Sustainability, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
  • Leah Dundon, Director of the Vanderbilt Climate Change Initiative, Vanderbilt University

The second half of the session will focus on the opportunities and barriers for end-of-life ships through the process of recycling to contribute to the circular economy – particularly related to greenhouse gas reductions in developing countries. Speakers will look at clarifying what is needed to unlock the opportunities- from capacity building to regulatory clarity. Input from those in the audience will be sought to discuss what a roadmap might look like. Speakers will include:

  • Gudrun Janssens, Manager Intergovernmental Engagement, BIMCO (VIRTUAL)
  • John Alonso, Project Technical Analyst, IMO-Norway SENSREC programme for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in Bangladesh (VIRTUAL)
  • Susan Wingfield, Programme Management Office, Basel Secretariat (VIRTUAL)
  • Christopher Fee, Director of Communications, Oldendorff Carriers
  • Masahiro (Max) Takahashi, Executive Office, Technical HQ, NYK Line

In person and active online attendance in available for those registered for the COP 28 Blue Zone. Passive attendance for those not registered to attend COP 28 will be available live on YouTube and on the UNFCCC website here


Members watching on YouTube are invited to submit questions via a Slido link which will be passed to the moderator.
Submit your questions here.


Time16:45—18:15 (local time)