Historic Tender to Accelerate Deployment of Zero-Emission Shipping

ZEMBA has launched a Request for Proposals (RfP) for 600,000 twenty-foot containers (TEUs) over a three-year period on ocean vessels powered by zero-emission fuels. Through this tender, ZEMBA will help its member companies reduce nearly 1 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 in one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonize.

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, create a competitive market for these services, and help reduce emissions. 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.

“Maritime shipping is an essential service for global companies like Amazon, and we urgently need this sector to make clean fuel investments to reach our climate goals,” said Adam Baker, Vice President of Global Transportation at Amazon. “We are proud to be a founding member of ZEMBA because we need to collaborate to solve this massive challenge, and by working together, ZEMBA members can offer committed demand to make significant reductions in ocean shipping emissions.”

“Decarbonizing the global movement of our cargo requires collaboration. We know from experience that moving an industry cannot be done by individual companies but is best achieved by a collection of forward-thinkers who are ready to show the way, as leaders together,” said Paolo Galli, VP Group Logistics, Electrolux Group. “ZEMBA allows us to come together to advance a transition we cannot facilitate on our own and show the entire value chain that we must have a zero-emission shipping solution that is affordable, scalable, and long-lasting.”

“Our ability to provide high-quality healthcare depends on a healthy planet. We have been carbon-neutral in our operations since 2020 and continue to innovate and bring to market, scalable solutions to reduce both our own environmental impact and enable our customers to achieve their environmental sustainability goals,” said Robert Metzke, SVP and global Head of Sustainability at Philips. “ZEMBA is an innovative collaboration that provides a direct incentive to shipping companies to reduce their carbon emissions. It marks an important step as we work towards achieving our 2025 climate targets.”

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 is focused on stimulating a new marketplace for zero-emission fuels and deploying long-term, scalable solutions for the entire shipping industry. With this in mind, future RfP criteria for lifecycle emissions may move upward from 90% as technology innovation unfolds and sustainable fuels, infrastructure, and supply chains are implemented.

“This RfP is a significant milestone toward a zero-emission maritime future,” said Ingrid Irigoyen, President and CEO of ZEMBA. “With over 20 climate-leading companies engaging in ZEMBA’s inaugural tender process, and more to come, we’re building the business case for a surge of investment in zero-emission maritime solutions, including new fuels and technologies that are not yet commercially available. Real leadership means taking action to solve problems, even the most challenging, and being willing to try innovative approaches. Advanced market commitments can be a game changer for harder-to-abate sectors like ocean shipping. I applaud our ZEMBA members for their leadership.”

ZEMBA’s RfP was developed in association with partners from Lloyd’s Register, a leading provider of classification and compliance services to the maritime and offshore industries, 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. At COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, coZEV released the coZEV Roadmap to 2040 which outlined actions available to cargo owners to enable full decarbonization of their ocean freight by 2040. ZEMBA will make subsequent announcements in the coming months.

For more information, please visit www.shipzemba.org. Interested bidders should email [email protected].

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