More than 50 leaders from the financial, public and private sectors participated in the first “Financing Sustainable Maritime Transport (FIN-SMART) Roundtable” on 27 October. The high‑level virtual Roundtable was hosted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group.
The FIN-SMART Roundtable is a platform for regular dialogue among key maritime stakeholders on addressing the financial challenges related to the transition of shipping to a more sustainable and resilient future. The Roundtable aims to support accelerating financial flows—particularly in developing countries—for the decarbonization of the maritime sector, in line with country priorities and the goals of the IMO Initial Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. Participants will also address the sector’s COVID-19 recovery needs.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting IMO Secretary-General Mr. Kitack Lim highlighted the importance of maritime transport in the global economy as an engine of growth and a driver of social development. He called for strong support to accelerate finance for sustainable maritime transport, in particular in decarbonization and sustainable recovery post COVID-19. “These will be only possible with targeted investment and strategic partnerships, particularly addressing special needs of developing countries, LDCs and SIDS,” he said.
Mr. Josué Tanaka, Managing Director of Operational Strategy and Planning, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change at EBRD, said, “What brought us here today is to exchange ideas on how to support the development of the long-term decarbonization of the shipping industry and create financial products to achieve this. It is the EBRD’s ambition to support the formulation of a low‑carbon pathway for the shipping industry that aligns industry stakeholders, encourages the uptake of technological solutions and develops the instruments to enable the necessary investments. These activities require close cooperation based on strong partnerships.”
Mr. Binyam Reja, Global Transport Manager at the World Bank, said: “Shipping is not only a cornerstone to international trade, but it is also key to sustainable development. By helping unlock sustainable maritime investment and finance, FIN-SMART will both promote the decarbonization of the sector and create in-country business opportunities and jobs.”
During the inaugural meeting participants looked for concrete opportunities to help accelerate global financing for sustainable shipping, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Among the options were identifying priorities and investment opportunities across the maritime supply chain, as well as addressing barriers to financial flows, and harnessing support for country reform efforts.
The need for innovative and tailor-made solutions to close the existing finance gap was a main discussion topic. These include exploring new financing models and risk sharing mechanisms, showcasing existing financial solutions to promote replication and scaling-up, and increasing awareness about the potential role financial institutions can play.
Participants acknowledged the critical importance of fostering collaboration and strategic partnerships to ultimately address the sustainability challenges of the maritime sector.
The FIN-SMART Roundtable will meet regularly and bring in additional important stakeholders to the workstreams discussions, from the public and private sectors, civil society and international organizations. Subsequent discussions will involve multiple dedicated workstreams on the identified topics.
More than 50 senior officials participated in the inaugural meeting, including representatives from IMO, EBRD and the World Bank Group; and participants from the maritime industry, donor countries and other States.