The high renewable energy potential of Latin American countries, the importance of bringing the maritime and energy sector together, and the investment opportunities on the production, upscaling and eventual bunkering of green shipping fuels and port infrastructure were at the core of the debates during the IMO Green shipping conference in Latin America (28-29 August) in Santiago, Chile.

The high renewable energy potential of Latin American countries, the importance of bringing the maritime and energy sector together, and the investment opportunities on the production, upscaling and eventual bunkering of green shipping fuels and port infrastructure were at the core of the debates during the IMO Green shipping conference in Latin America (28-29 August)

Speaking at opening of the Conference held at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile and co-organized by the Government of Chile, Mr. Arsenio Domínguez, Marine Environment Division, IMO, highlighted the significant contribution of Latin American countries during the negotiations on the adoption of the revised IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, in July 2023.

Mr. Dominguez said, “Within the Strategy, which demonstrates the need for decarbonization and transition, with a special emphasis on exploring opportunities, the Latin American region plays a crucial role, as shown during the two weeks of Strategy deliberations. There was significant cooperation and acknowledgment of the need for action.”

The relevance of unity and collaboration towards decarbonization of shipping in Latin American countries was emphasized by Ms Claudia Sanhueza, Under–Secretary for International Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile. She said, “The Chilean export sector is highly interested in exporting products that are sustainable to different international markets. But they cannot do this alone. International shipping needs to have a low carbon footprint (…). In this framework, we value the Strategy adopted last July to reduce GHG emission from ships.”

Admiral Juan Andrés De La Maza Larraín, Commander in Chief of the Chilean Navy, gave focus on national legal framework and pointed out that, “Since the adoption of the IMO GHG Strategy, the Chilean Maritime Authority has developed several initiatives for its compliance. The incorporation of technical and operational measures on Chilean-flagged ships makes it possible to reconcile the objectives of combating climate change with efficient maritime transport that keeps the supply chain active, in an economy that is highly dependent on the sea for its international trade.”

The IMO Green Shipping Conference in Latin America focused on “Implementing the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy by unlocking opportunities and investments”. It included panel sessions on the following subjects:

  • IMO’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions from shipping and climate action in Latin America
  • Shipping as enabler of climate action and energy transition
  • Enabling shipping decarbonization across the maritime value chain
  • National perspectives on the opportunities offered by the decarbonisation of shipping
  • Financing the decarbonization of the shipping sector and the up-scaling of renewable fuels production in Latin America
  • Capacity building and partnerships for a decarbonized maritime sector

Common themes throughout the panel sessions were the opportunities for Latin America, as a continent, in terms of producing and trading zero and near carbon bunker fuels; the national challenges; and the technology solutions to achieve an equal and inclusive decarbonization.

The conference was attended by country representatives from 18 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, Venezuela), and the following international organizations: the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IBD), the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), The Central American Integration System (SICA); non-profit institutions: CECACIER, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, RMI; and the industry: Maersk.

Participant countries outlined their ongoing national work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

During the closing remarks, Mr. Dominguez outlined that, “Decarbonisation will require mid- and long-term measures, both technical and economic, to achieve the objectives we adopted in the 2023 Strategy. This is not an easy task, but I am sure that together we will be able to achieve it in an equitable way.”

The conference was organized by IMO, through IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP), in collaboration with the Government of Chile.