SMM 2022 - Decarbonizing the Maritime Industry



SMM 2022, the leading international maritime trade in Hamburg, was the first post-pandemic and in-person since 2018. The event’s primary focus has been the industry’s greatest challenge – decarbonization.

Discussions and debates at SMM 2022 showed that the shipping industry has the technologies to meet the challenge of decarbonization; what is needed is renewable energy, infrastructure and regulation. So the main challenges in decarbonization are not technical but the availability of fuels and infrastructure.

For that reason, in the transition to zero carbon, hydrogen will most likely play a significant role in energy flowing around the globe in the following decades. Hydrogen or hydrogen-derived fuels became a viable option for the bunkering of the maritime industry.

Hydrogen is already used in the chemical industry. Also, the steel-producing energy industry looks very much to hydrogen in order to replace coal. These two industries have a massive demand for hydrogen and in difference to shipping, they will not have many other options.

There are many pathways that have to be explored in the field of climate impact or the greenhouse gas footprint. The environmental aspects and sustainability issues have to be correlated with the availability of the critical resources that we need in order to support this type of scaling up.

From across SMM fair the message was clear: evolving with economic and geopolitical changes, plenty of challenges are left to face in the decarbonization of shipping. With so many shifting variables and paths forward, it's no wonder why many companies are waiting for a more precise roadmap from regulators.