Hapag-Lloyd on path to Zero-Emission Shipping through ZEMBA

Container shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd won ZEMBA's inaugural tender. Picture: Hapag-Lloyd
Container shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd won the inaugural tender from ZEMBA, which counts Amazon, Meta and Nike among its founding members

When the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers’ Alliance (ZEMBA) was first announced, some within the shipping industry wondered whether it would ever truly get off the ground. 

Being able to count Amazon, Meta, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia and several more giant organisations as founders surely put paid to many of these doubts, before an inaugural tendering process attracted significant interest. 

With container shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd selected as the winner of that tender, more than a dozen ZEMBA members, including its founders, have collectively committed to purchasing the environmental attributes associated with more than a billion 20-foot shipping container-miles of zero-emission shipping on a route from Singapore to Rotterdam in 2025-2026.

At the conclusion of contracting, ZEMBA expects members to collectively avoid at least 82,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions over two years through Hapag-Lloyd’s independently-certified and exclusively waste-based biomethane service.

Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO at Hapag-Lloyd

“We’re proud to have been selected by ZEMBA for this important zero-emission shipping initiative and to be able to provide immediate emission reductions to ZEMBA members,” comments Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO at Hapag-Lloyd.

“To reach our goal of net-zero ship operations by 2045, we need partners like ZEMBA to support us on our decarbonisation journey and push the boundaries of what’s possible. By offering our service, we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly and contribute to a greener future for global shipping.” 

What is ZEMBA?

The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance is a first-of-its-kind buyers group within the maritime sector.

Its mission is to accelerate the commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping solutions, enable economies of scale for freight buyers and suppliers, and help cargo owners maximise the potential of emissions reduction beyond what a single freight buyer could accomplish alone.

ZEMBA is an initiative of Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) and is facilitated by the Aspen Institute Energy & Environment Program.

Founding members in addition to those already mentioned were Tchibo, Bauhaus, Brooks Running, DB Journey, Green Worldwide Shipping, REI Co-op and Sport-Thieme.

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Symbolic moment for ZEMBA

The expected potential for first deployment of e-fuels on the water in 2027 means ZEMBA’s deal with Hapag-Lloyd was adjusted from three years to two. 

This allows members the opportunity – through ZEMBA’s second tender – to focus on supporting e-fuels and technologies of nonbiological origin. 

To inform the design of ZEMBA’s next tender and ensure it unlocks investment in the next generation of fuels and technologies, the alliance will seek information in the coming months from actors across the maritime value chain working to develop e-fuel infrastructure, bunkering, ship design and other details. 

The second tender is anticipated to launch later in 2024.

“Climate-leading customers of the maritime shipping sector are stepping up in support of zero-emission shipping and the supply chain is responding,” adds Ingrid Irigoyen, President and CEO at ZEMBA. 

“As we embark on this partnership, we commend Hapag-Lloyd’s transparency, collaborative spirit and willingness to innovate with ZEMBA on this inaugural tender.”

Ingrid Irigoyen, President and CEO at ZEMBA

Investing in the zero-emission transition

ZEMBA and Hapag-Lloyd are set to utilise a book and claim system to facilitate verification and credible and appropriate allocation of the environmental attributes of Hapag-Lloyd’s independently certified waste-based biomethane shipping service. 

Several ZEMBA members and Hapag-Lloyd are working with the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping and RMI on the development of a best-in-class, nonprofit maritime book and claim system, which is intended to allow companies to invest in the zero-emission transition and appropriately claim the environmental benefits without interrupting logistics flows essential to the global economy.

Results from ZEMBA’s tender process will also provide real-world insights to inform the development of ambitious global maritime decarbonisation policy

“Our collective procurement approach is working and we look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of what’s technically and economically feasible in subsequent tenders, with a strong focus on maritime e-fuels,” Ingrid concludes.

“Through this first set of deals, ZEMBA members are reducing emissions in the near term, which is critical. We also strongly urge suppliers of maritime e-fuels and other zero and near-zero emission propulsion alternatives to accelerate their market readiness in preparation for our next tender.”

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