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Gibbs Statement from Hearing on Steps Toward a Carbon-Free Maritime Industry

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Ranking Member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) from today’s hearing entitled, “Practical Steps Toward a Carbon-Free Maritime Industry: Updates on Fuels, Ports, and Technology”:

Thank you, Chair Carbajal, for holding this hearing today.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization issued its initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, and a revised strategy is due in 2023.  Industry has responded by beginning to develop, test, and use new fuels and new technologies.  

I look forward to hearing today what the costs are of the industry-wide recapitalization that decarbonization will require and who will bear that cost.  I’m also interested if these changes will be done in line with planned vessel replacements. 

I am also interested in which technologies and fuels show promise for which sectors, and whether the witnesses expect multiple technologies and fuels to be used in the future instead of a single fuel.  In the past, sail was succeeded by coal, which was succeeded by bunker fuel.  It appears the next transition may be to an array of fuels and technologies rather than the linear movement from a single dominant fuel to a different single dominant fuel.

In addition to decarbonizing vessel fuel, efforts to reduce air emissions are also underway at ports.  Again, I am interested in the status and costs of those efforts.  While IMO has set goals for vessel emission standards, what are the goals for reductions of emissions standards at ports?  Will ocean carriers and ultimately U.S. importers and exporters bear these costs?

I look forward to what today’s witnesses have to tell us about methods, costs, and any efficiencies to be gained through efforts to decarbonize vessel and ports operations.

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