Major maritime companies agree to develop book and claim approaches in order to accelerate shipping’s decarbonisation transition

Nine key players across the maritime value chain have issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to developing and implementing robust book and claim chain of custody systems to accelerate the early phases of shipping’s decarbonisation.

July 03 2023

The signatories of the joint statementAspen Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, DHL Global Forwarding, Hapag Lloyd, Kuehne + Nagel, NORDEN, Oldendorff Carriers, ONE, Torvald Klaveness, and Yara Clean Ammonia – represent key parts of the value chain for decarbonised shipping. The companies belong to the Getting to Zero coalition, which has been exploring book and claim chain of custody approaches as part of its mission to fully decarbonise the shipping industry.

Book and claim chain of custody systems allow the emission profile of a zero- and near zero-emission fuel¹ to be separated from the physical flow of that fuel in a transportation supply chain. These systems can enable early action, even when zero- and near-zero emission fuels and vessels are in limited supply, by separating decarbonisation from the physical transportation of an organisation’s cargo. In a book and claim system, the environmental benefits of zero- and near zero-emission fuels are tracked and transferred across the maritime value chain. One party can purchase, or “book”, a specific quantity of zero- or near zero-emission fuel and then “claim” the environmental benefits of it even though the fuel is physically used by another shipper in a different location. By activating early demand from shippers and cargo owners, these systems can help shipowners and fuel providers develop a business case for decarbonisation even while preferred fuel pathways are still being determined.

The joint statement sets out actions the signatories will undertake to ensure that book and claim chain of custody systems succeed. The actions the nine signing companies commit to include working together to agree on the use of clear and consistent rules wherever possible and maintaining the highest standards of environmental, social and commercial integrity. It also calls on non-industry actors like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Science Based Targets initiative to recognise book and claim approaches as credible emissions reductions.

In order to avoid conflicts between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and book and claim systems, the signatories argue that the IMO must adopt a full life cycle, or well-to-wake, accounting of greenhouse gases. The statement calls on the IMO, whose Marine Environment Protection Committee is meeting this week, to implement well-to-wake accounting in its own policy measures for decarbonisation.

Through this joint statement, the companies commit to working in close collaboration to address the challenges to be addressed to effectively implement book and claim.

“Book and claim systems are going to be essential tools for getting decarbonisation of shipping moving, but they remain poorly understood, and their development risks getting bogged down in confusion and suspicion,” says Jesse Fahnestock, Project Director at Global Maritime Forum. “With this statement, some of the most important companies in international shipping are committing to making book and claim systems transparent, well-aligned and environmentally credible for their customers and stakeholders. And they’re calling on other key players, like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, to create a pathway for acceptance. It can’t happen soon enough.”

For an overview of book and claim chain of custody systems as a mechanism to accelerate maritime decarbonisation through the early transition to zero-emission fuels in shipping, please see this insight brief published by the Getting to Zero Coalition earlier this year.

For questions or further information, please reach out to the Global Maritime Forum’s Head of Communications, Rasmus Nord Jørgensen, at

The Global Maritime Forum is an international not-for-profit organisation committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing.

The Getting to Zero Coalition is a collaboration-based platform committed to fully decarbonising the maritime industry by 2050. The industry-led coalition consists of leading stakeholders from across the maritime and fuels value chains, the financial sector and more. It is managed by the Global Maritime Forum and was founded together with the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action in 2019.

Stay informed