Anglo, Tata and Freeport Saldanha aim to ship iron ore with zero emissions

Anglo American, iron ore miner Tata Steel and others in a new consortium will be finding ways to reduce emissions in the shipping of iron ore.

Freeport Saldanha – which represents the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone – is also part of the consortium, along with shipping firms CMB and VUKA Marine and energy supplier Engie. The consortium is convened by the international nonprofit Global Maritime Forum.

The consortium will, over the next 12 months, conduct a concept study into how to achieve zero emissions in the shipping of iron ore from South Africa to Europe – essentially developing a “green corridor”.

“The new initiative came about because of a shared ambition to decarbonise shipping and a common interest to assess a potential green corridor for shipping of iron ore from South Africa to Europe across the partners,” said Marieke Beckmann of the Global Maritime Forum.

Maritime green corridors are recognised as an important tool to help industry and governments decarbonise the sector, the Global Maritime Forum said in a statement.

Shipping accounts for roughly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Beckmann said that the work builds on a previous study by the Global Maritime Forum that identified opportunities for South Africa to establish itself as a “key player” in the transition to renewable energy and in zero-emission shipping. “The new initiative will build on this to develop an initial concept of how the corridor could be set up,” Beckmann reiterated.

Among the solutions being considered is the use of green fuel supplies to power the ships. “The fuels we will be looking at will be hydrogen-based fuels, for example, ammonia; however, this is yet to be concluded as part of the study,” said Beckmann.

South Africa is located along a busy shipping route and has the highest volumes of maritime traffic in Africa outside the Mediterranean region, the Global Maritime Forum noted.

Both Anglo American and Tata Steel – which produce iron ore for customers in Europe – agreed that the corridor would help the industry decarbonise.

“An important step toward wider industry decarbonisation, this initiative also aligns with Anglo American’s ambition to reach carbon neutrality for our controlled ocean freight by 2040,” said Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business.

“Tata Steel is committed to zero carbon shipping ambition, and our participation in [the] South Africa-Europe green corridor for Iron Ore is yet another step in this direction…” said Ranjan Sinha, chief of group shipping at Tata Steel.

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