Shippers Launch Tender to Accelerate Zero-Emission Shipping

September 14, 2023

© EvrenKalinbacak / Adobe Stock
© EvrenKalinbacak / Adobe Stock

The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) has launched a Request for Proposals (RfP) for 600,000 TEUs over a three-year period on ocean vessels powered by zero-emission fuels.

This will help its member companies reduce nearly one million metric tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 215,000 cars off the road. The RfP is the first major buyer-led initiative to accelerate the transition to zero-emission maritime fuels.    

ZEMBA was launched as a nonprofit membership organization in March 2023 by the Aspen Institute, Amazon, Patagonia, and Tchibo to fast-track commercial deployment of zero-emissions shipping services at scale. For this first tender, ZEMBA has secured more than 20 members, including: Amazon, Bauhaus, Brooks Running, Chewy, Electrolux Group, Flexport, Green Worldwide Shipping, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., lululemon, Meta, Moose Toys, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia, Philips, Schneider Electric, Sport-Thieme and Tchibo.

The ZEMBA RfP is seeking bids for shipping services, from individual carriers or consortiums, that achieve at least a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels on a lifecycle basis. Fuel choice will address safety and land use concerns, particularly those that relate to biogenic substances. Delivery of shipping services powered by new, cleaner fuels is anticipated in 2025.

ZEMBA will consider bids that meet the following criteria:

• Sufficient capacity to cover ZEMBA members’ aggregate demand of 600,000+ TEUs across a distance of 6,000 nautical miles/~11,000 km over three years.

• Access to fuels that provide GHG emission reductions of at least 90% compared to traditional fossil fuels on a lifecycle basis.

• Transparent fuel lifecycle emissions to validate emission reduction claims. This will be enabled through rigorous in-sector book-and-claim approaches that assure highly credible emissions reductions, while allowing companies to maintain reliable supply chains necessary for our global economy.

Through the RfP, ZEMBA will negotiate a “green premium” for the aggregated demand of its members. The green premium accounts for the added cost of operating a vessel using zero-emission fuels. Final contracting will be bilateral between ZEMBA members and the winning bidder. 

Additionally, as part of the RfP bidding process, ZEMBA is requesting vessel and fuel assurances from bidders. The winning bidder will also be required to provide third-party verification of the emissions reduction ZEMBA members can claim.

ZEMBA’s RfP was developed in association with partners from Lloyd’s Register, Neoteric Energy and Climate LLC, a specialized climate and energy advisory firm with experience running RfPs for the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA), and the law firm of Pillsbury, as outside legal counsel.

ZEMBA is an initiative of Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV), a platform for cargo owners to work together toward a decarbonized maritime sector, facilitated by the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program. The coZEV 2040 Ambition Statement has united 19 global brands to date around an ambition to use zero-emission shipping for their ocean freight by 2040 exclusively.

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