African countries have come together to address the issue of transitioning to cleaner fuels for shipping and a low-carbon future at the 6th Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conference on Low Carbon Shipping in Africa. The conference brought various sector players in the Maritime industry across Africa to discuss maritime administration, which plays a crucial role in driving economic development through shipping.
Shipping is an integral part of global trade. However, the heavy fuels used to move cargo across Africa and beyond the continent have significantly contributed to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions to the environment. Thus, the need to overcome this challenge in climate change mitigation is essential.
International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global shipping regulator, seeks to phase out GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible through energy efficiency measures like Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) and Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). They acknowledge that their energy efficiency measures alone will not be enough, and there is a need to utilize new fuels.
Ambassador Ms. Nancy Karigithu, special envoy for the blue economy, speaking at the conference stressed the need to utilize the mineral resources present in Africa as well as the availability of resources to power green transformations using hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar energy.
“The transition of low carbon shipping in Africa will require the deployment of innovative and sustainable technologies that can reduce emissions while maintaining the sector’s efficiency and competitiveness”, she added.
From an employment perspective, Ms. Ondrilla Fernandes, the Employment Affairs Advisor, at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) mentioned the opportunities for maritime jobs in the decarbonizing journey. She emphasized the need for skills development to prepare for the unlocking of these job opportunities. Adding that as the industry transitions to low-carbon shipping, there will be an increase in demand for skilled professionals, which will require investment in the development of new skill sets and training programs.
Mr John Akumu, Senior Engineer, Design & Projects at Kenya Ports Authority while discussing the role of ports as green energy marine hubs noted the various initiatives being taken by the Kenya Ports Authority to support the country’s transition towards a low-carbon economy.
The Permanent Secretary, State Department of Shipping and Maritime, Mr. Shadrack Mwadime, in his remarks, reiterated that Africa has abundant resources that need to be harnessed to advance the maritime sector. He highlighted the need to exploit these resources to drive economic growth and promote sustainable development in the region to catch up with other continents.
The three-day conference saw the Association of African Maritime Administration general assembly accepting the offer by President William Ruto to host the headquarters of the association in Kenya.