The obstruction of the Suez Canal earlier this year served as a vivid reminder of the importance of maritime transport for economies around the globe. The blockage was resolved within a matter of days, but a much more existential challenge remains for the shipping industry.

Simply put: How to tackle climate change? The maritime transport industry is under increasing pressure to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, which account for approximately 3% of global emissions annually. The sector is highly dependent on heavy fuel oil.

In light of this, decarbonizing the current global sailing fleet of approximately 100,000 ships represents a mammoth task that will require more energy efficient ships as well as revolutionizing the industry's entire fuel supply chain.

A new World Bank report, "The Potential of Zero-Carbon Bunker Fuels in Developing Countries," finds that energy efficient technology alone will not be enough to decarbonize the industry. Rather, the feasibility of reaching net-zero emissions hinges on the adoption and use of zero-carbon bunker fuels.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 15 2021, of The Himalayan Times.