What are some of the sustainable transport solutions in the maritime sector, and what can ordinary citizens do to contribute? Johannah Christiansen, CEO of the Global Maritime Forum, joined our virtual studio to discuss sustainable shipping in connection with the recent Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference

Ms. Christiansen highlighted the importance of green fuels and their potential for global application. Unfortunately, unlike the personal vehicle and other transport sectors, direct electrification of the maritime transport industry is still limited. Electrification is suited for short sea shipping, but for longer distances, green fuels are the solution. A new set of green fuels, made primarily with renewable energy, needs to be applied at scale in the shipping sector, she said.

According to research conducted with the World Bank and other stakeholders, the Global Maritime Forum found that many middle income and developing countries have the opportunity to produce such sustainable marine fuels. The biggest challenge is that green fuels in the shipping industry are barely used. Still, when the development process accelerates, and the technical issues are overcome, this has huge potential for sustainable transport.   

"It's really a question about making the fuels available at scale in key ports around the world," Ms. Christiansen said.  

Ms. Christiansen also stressed bio-based energy solutions for the shipping sector, which are currently widely available and scalable. Many companies have already successfully taken the lead in this to become more sustainable.   

So how can ordinary people contribute to sustainable transport? Ms. Christiansen said that the biggest instrument individual citizens have is to vote for politicians who are willing to put a price on pollution and advance the scale-up of new green technologies. Citizens could also use their consumer power to support companies with clear emission targets and pressure companies to transport goods with zero emission. It is time to turn words into action for a net-zero future.   

 Hear more from Johannah Christiansen in our virtual interview