A long-term memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and international petroleum company, Shell.

The MoU will see the partners working together to accelerate decarbonisation of the global shipping sector and transform the industry through new technologies and alternative fuel solutions.

Commenting on the deal, Bud Darr, EVP Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC Group, said, “MSC’s efforts to decarbonise include strong partnerships with a range of companies across the industry.”

“This partnership with Shell is a great example of the type of commitment that is needed to catalyse low-carbon solutions for the shipping sector.”

“MSC welcomes partnerships like this with Shell that are designed to facilitate cross-sector information sharing and prove how collaboration is key in defining the best pathway to a net-zero future.”

He also emphasised the need for significant advances in research and development in order to reach the goal of complete decarbonisation.

Collaboration between the two companies will see further development within the areas of zero-emission fuels and technologies that will enable then, such as fuel cells. Digital services and platforms will also be worked on by the partners, in addition to a zero-carbon flexi-fuel concept vessel.

Melissa Williams, President, Shell Marine, spoke about the agreement, saying, “Shell wants to play a central role in the transition to net zero.”

“Partnering with our customers to develop new technologies and fuels will help accelerate progress.”

“Combining MSC’s experience as one of the world’s largest shipping companies with Shell’s expertise as a global energy supplier will help bring about effective solutions for this vital part of the world economy.”

Having worked on projects such as bunkering biofuels and trialling very and ultra-low sulphur fuels, the partners already have a ten-year working relationship. This familiarity will allow for a smoother transition to exploring all possible options regarding future developments, such as hydrogen-derived fuels and the use of methanol as a marine fuel.

The potential for progressing from fossil-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) to bio-LNG will also be evaluated, along with methane-slip abatement technologies that will bring down LNG’s emissions.

The MoU enables further collaboration between Shell and MSC on strategic policy issues and ultimately accelerating decarbonisation within the shipping sector.