The award endorses a route-based action plan methodology based on The Silk Alliance’s concept of a green corridor cluster.

A proposal from the Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonisation Hub for the “Development of a Route-based Action Plan Methodology based on The Silk Alliance” has been selected as the winner of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) NextGEN Connect Challenge.

Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the IMO, the IMO NextGEN Connect Challenge  was an invitation for submissions to develop a robust methodology that stakeholders could use to develop specific, route-based action plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between specific points along a shipping route in the Asia Pacific region.

Launched at the Singapore Maritime Week last year, the organisers received several high-quality submissions. The LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub’s winning proposal has been selected for pilot implementation in collaboration with the IMO.

With the experience of initiating The Silk Alliance green corridor cluster, the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub will also leverage its ‘First Mover Framework’ methodology and experiences from green corridor initiatives to work with the MPA and IMO on the NextGEN Connect Challenge. The implementation of this methodology aims to generate a spillover effect of knowledge, capability and investment into the wider region, contributing towards a just and equitable transition that also benefits Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Asia Pacific.

Initiated by the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub in collaboration with partners across the maritime supply chain, ‘The Silk Alliance’ is a green corridor cluster initiative focused on a fleet predominantly bunkering in Singapore and trades across the wider Asia region. The Alliance identified a feasibility scenario for in scope container ships and continues to engage with key stakeholders to increase its impact to drive significant emissions-savings within the intra-Asia container trade.

Nick Brown, Lloyd’s Register CEO said: “This endorsement by the IMO NextGEN Connect Challenge judging panel is proof that the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub’s green corridor methodology provides a clear focus in estimating the critical mass needed to drive much-needed infrastructure investments, such as port and fuel production infrastructure for alternative fuels, in preparation for shipping’s decarbonisation.”

Mr. Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA said, “We extend our warmest congratulations to Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub for their winning proposal in the IMO-MPA NextGEN Connect Challenge. This proposal reaffirms the pragmatic and inclusive approach needed to accelerate the adoption of low and zero-emission solutions through the development of green and digital shipping corridors. MPA looks forward to collaborating with Lloyd’s Register, IMO and other partners to implement the proposal to help decarbonise the maritime industry.”

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “Maritime needs innovation and through trials and pilot projects, we can all learn and take on board best practices. IMO is supporting this through various projects, in partnership with many stakeholders. I am pleased that through the Singapore-IMO NextGEN Connect project we have seen exciting proposals presented. I congratulate the winner and I look forward to receiving the results of the trials at IMO, to share with the Member States.”   

Charles Haskell, Director of the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, added: “With this pilot implementation, we not only aim to reduce emissions from the cargo trade in the region, but also incentivise the development of alternative fuel supply infrastructure in strategic positions, including those in the region’s developing countries. Once we are able to implement a successful green corridor within the intra-Asia route, we hope that the spillover effect can provide the methodology and momentum needed for shipping to fulfil its 2050 zero emissions goal.”

As The Silk Alliance develops further and members work on an implementation plan for a green corridor cluster, it will become a relevant case study for the IMO NextGEN Challenge, particularly alongside the efforts to expand membership to relevant governments and fuel producers to drive implementation forward. Members of The Silk Alliance expressed their optimism for the project.

Mr. Stam Achillas, Head of Business Development & Sales, 2-Stroke Decarbonisation Solutions, Wärtsilä, said: “This vote of confidence by the prominent institutions, MPA and IMO, is a testament to LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub experts and The Silk Alliance members' collaborative efforts. The upcoming pilot implementation phase is going to be even more exciting as we turn initial plans into action across the maritime value chain. The industry’s decarbonisation trajectory requires collaboration from multiple stakeholders, it is a team sport, and we are really proud to be part of it.”

Anju Abrol, ING’s Head of Wholesale Banking APAC, said: “We congratulate Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub on winning this prestigious award. ING is a founding member of The Silk Alliance and we are proud to partner like-minded firms in this unique platform. As a sustainability pioneer we look forward to being part of The Silk Alliance’s successful implementation, to help steer the shipping sector to a net zero future.”

Mr. Aziz Merchant, Executive Vice President, Technology & New Product Development, Seatrium, comments: “It is heartening to see The Silk Alliance green corridor cluster project launched in 2022, taking off in the right direction. At Seatrium, we understand the different perspectives of stakeholders and have taken an end-to-end value chain approach to develop sustainable marine and offshore energy solutions. We look forward to engineering our future together with like-minded partners to support and share learnings on the project and contribute to the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.”

Captain James Jeng, Chief Marine Technology Officer, YANG MING MARINE TRANSPORT CORP. said: “YANG MING is committed to the shipping decarbonisation and we are proud to be a founding member of The Silk Alliance. The Silk Alliance teamed up the brilliant members from both upstream and downstream of shipping industry, providing a unique opportunity for different stakeholders to work together towards the decarbonisation. YANG MING will continuously devote ourselves together with Alliance to sailing for a greener ocean.”

Mr. Carl Schou, CEO and President of Wilhelmsen Ship Management, said: “Sending an aggregated demand is crucial to push the industry towards the right direction in one voice. We are pleased to be part of the team to share learnings and experience from this Green Corridor cluster project that will support shipping’s transition towards carbon neutral fuels and vessels.”