With decisive and strategic action, South Africa can become Africa’s first zero-carbon bunkering hub

Published today, the new P4G-Getting to Zero Coalition report “Shipping’s Energy Transition: Strategic Opportunities in South Africa” explores the potential for South Africa to benefit from international maritime decarbonization. The report finds that South Africa, with its strong maritime connections and large renewable potential, has several promising business opportunities that could spur growth and a just transition, while accelerating decarbonization within and outside the maritime sector.

June 02 2022

International shipping accounts for approximately 3% of global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, and this will increase in a business-as-usual scenario. To decarbonize the maritime industry, there will be a massive need for green fuels and associated technologies. In particular, scalable zero-emission fuels (SZEF) such as green hydrogen and green ammonia are considered the most promising fuels for the industry’s transition.

Due to its large renewable capacity and unique location sitting at the gateway between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa is, according to the new P4G-Getting to Zero Coalition report, well-positioned to benefit from the maritime decarbonization agenda on a both domestic and international level. The country holds the potential to accelerate the transition to cleaner forms of energy across the economy, creating several opportunities for the country.

“Harnessing the opportunities that maritime decarbonization and production of green fuels present, South Africa can assume an active role in addressing global shipping emissions while transforming national energy production, creating new jobs, and ensuring long-term environmental, social, and economic benefits. Acting now through concerted commitments can position South Africa as a first mover in this field,” says Margi Van Gogh, Head of Supply Chain & Transport Industries at The World Economic Forum.

Being part of the transition for shipping would allow South Africa to engage in, for example, green fuel production, exports, and bunkering; supporting a just and equitable job transition; creating green hubs and green ports; as well as allowing for green corridors along key shipping routes.

The report cites the deep-water commercial port of Saldanha Bay and Booegoebai, a proposed deep-water port project, as promising locations for bunkering and exports of SZEF. It also highlights the Hydrogen Valley, with a possible maritime component in Richard’s Bay.

The lead authors of the report – Katrina Abhold, Project Lead at Global Maritime Forum and Dr. Alison Shaw, Research Associate at UCL – estimate that development of SZEF infrastructure to serve South Africa’s shipping sector could attract investment up to R175 billion Rand ($11.1 billion USD) in onshore infrastructure by 2030, and with appropriate incentives and targeted action towards encouraging economy-wide energy, investment, and environmental planning, South Africa could become a first mover in this field and set an example for other countries to follow.

“Shipping decarbonization and energy transition are intrinsically linked for any country, but they are also difficult to unpick and turn into scalable and impactful opportunities and policies. By bringing together quantitative analytics on shipping and energy, understanding the policy landscape, and engaging with South Africa’s stakeholder perspectives on opportunities, we hope that our efforts will help unlock South Africa’s significant potential”, says Dr Santiago Suarez De La Fuente, Lecturer in Energy and Transport at UCL Energy Institute.

However, to realize this potential, the report states, there is a need for South Africa to support the development of a policy framework capable of facilitating the transition to zero-emission shipping. This would require defining national climate objectives more clearly in maritime policies, as well as supporting and advancing international policies capable of accelerating the just transition to zero-emission fuels globally.

“South Africa can play a strong role in building the global momentum towards zero-emission shipping, leveraging its own development goals while preparing to meet the future demands of the maritime industry. Unlocking international finance, establishing national and international cross-sectoral partnerships, easing financial and regulatory hurdles, and investing in climate-proof projects will be fundamental in the years to come,” says Ingrid Sidenvall Jegou, Project Director at Global Maritime Forum.

Strategic and decisive action can thus enable South Africa to become a competitive producer and exporter of SZEF, and the report concludes that investing in key-renewable energy and SZEF infrastructure would have significant benefits for the country’s economy and society, reducing national emissions, improving air and water quality, creating sustainable jobs and skills expertise as part of a just transition, and developing new supply chains, creating the potential for South Africa to become Africa’s first zero-carbon bunkering hub.

“South Africa has the opportunity to leverage its renewable resources to be a global leader in decarbonizing shipping. P4G is proud to support the Getting to Zero Partnership as it releases this pivotal report, which highlights how South Africa can revise its key maritime policy to align with the country’s climate ambitions, accelerate economic growth, and make the maritime sector greener. By disrupting unsustainable models, this partnership is setting the stage for the future of zero-emissions shipping,” says Ian de Cruz, P4G Global Director.

Download the full report here.

For further information: Communications Lead, Frida Ulrik-Petersen atfaup@globalmaritimeforum.org or +453840 1800.

About the report
The P4G report “Shipping’s energy transition: strategic opportunities in South Africa” has been prepared by the P4G-Getting to Zero Coalition Partnership.

The P4G-Getting to Zero Coalition Partnership, jointly implemented by the Global Maritime Forum, World Economic Forum, Friends of Ocean Action, Environmental Defense Fund, University College London and International Association of Ports and Harbours, is leveraging the P4G platform to engage stakeholders and companies from three P4G partner countries: Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. The aim is to make zero-emission vessels and fuels a reality and identify concrete and actionable growth and business opportunities that can contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in these target countries.

About the Getting to Zero Coalition
The Getting to Zero (GtZ) Coalition, a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum and World Economic Forum, is a community of ambitious stakeholders from across the maritime, energy, infrastructure and financial sectors, and supported by key governments, IGOs and other stakeholders, who are committed to the decarbonization of shipping.

The ambition of the Getting to Zero Coalition is to have commercially viable ZEVs operating along deep-sea trade routes by 2030, supported by the necessary infrastructure for scalable net zero-carbon energy sources including production, distribution, storage, and bunkering.

About Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030
The Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) is a global delivery mechanism pioneering green partnerships to build sustainable and resilient economies. The P4G mobilizes a global ecosystem of 12 partner countries and 5 organizational partners to unlock opportunities for 66 partnerships working in five SDG areas: food and agriculture, water, energy, cities and circular economy.

About the Global Maritime Forum
The Global Maritime Forum (GMF) is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing.

About the World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests.

About Friends of Ocean Action
Friends of Ocean Action is a unique group of over 55 global leaders from business, international organizations, civil society, science and academia who are fast-tracking scalable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the ocean. It is hosted by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the World Resources Institute.

About Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund Europe is an affiliate of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading international non-profit organisation that creates transformative solutions to the most serious environmental problems. Since 1967, EDF has used science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to bring a new voice for practical solutions.

About University College London
University College London (UCL) Energy Institute Shipping Group aims to accelerate the shipping transition to an equitable, globally sustainable energy system through world-class shipping research, education and policy support. The group specialises in multi-disciplinary research anchored in data analytics and advanced modelling of the maritime sector.

About International Association of Ports and Harbours
The International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) was formed in 1955 and over the last sixty years has grown into a global alliance representing over 180 members ports and 140 port-related businesses in 90 countries. The principal aim of IAPH revolves around the promotion of the interests of Ports worldwide, building strong member relationships and sharing best practices among our members.

About University Maritime Advisory Services
University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) delivers consultancy services and undertakes research for a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors using models of the shipping system, shipping big data, and qualitative and social science analysis of the policy and commercial structure of the shipping system. UMAS’s work is underpinned by state-of-the-art data supported by rigorous models and research practices, which makes UMAS world-leading on three key areas; using big data to understand drivers of shipping emissions, using models to explore shipping’s transition to a zero emissions future and providing interpretation to key decision makers. For more information visit: www.u-mas.co.uk.

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