Home > FTDO > Letter of Commissioner Sola to Secretary Granholm

Letter of Commissioner Sola to Secretary Granholm

Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis E. Sola wrote Secretary Granholm on April 26, 2024, regarding the Maritime Decarbonization Plan.

Text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Granholm:

Thank you for your leadership and partnership in developing a Maritime Decarbonization Plan. The maritime transportation industry is working to decarbonize its operations by 2050. While much project has been made toward achieving that goal, there is an important role for the U.S. Government to play by providing leadership, direction, and support.

The transition of the maritime industry to alternate marine fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), is integral to the future reliability of our shipping industry. LNG bunkering infrastructure and regulatory frameworks require further support to facilitate this transition effectively.

According to the International Maritime Organization, LNG can reduce carbon emissions by 20% compared to traditional marine fuels. Additionally, SEA-LNG indicates that LNG usage as a marine fuel yields greenhouse gas benefits between 23% and 30% for well-to-wake and tank- to-wake basis compared to current oil-based marine fuels.

As of recent data, LNG-powered ships make up a significant portion of the new orders in the global shipbuilding industry. Specifically, LNG-powered vessels constituted nearly two-thirds of all ship orders in the recent year, demonstrating a strong preference for LNG as a fuel option in new ship constructions (Marine Log). Additionally, the overall trend in the industry shows that over 50% of the order book consists of vessels that are either LNG-fueled or LNG-ready (SEA- LNG). This indicates a growing shift towards cleaner alternative fuels in maritime transportation, aligning with global decarbonization goals.

The maritime shipping industry is the backbone of the global economy. Approximately 90% of all goods traded internationally are transported by sea. Vessels travelling internationally require assured access to ship fuel wherever they put to port. LNG is widely available globally, allowing for easy adoption of the fuel as an industry standard.

The United States benefits from a reliable and well function international ocean transportation system. We should not shy away from supporting something that benefits American companies and consumers. The Federal Aviation Administration serves as a useful model for how Executive Branch agencies can provide industry support via policy guidance and funding incentives.

The maritime industry needs support and recognition for alternate marine fuels in Department of Energy (DOE) policies and the Maritime Decarbonization Plan. The future success of the maritime industry depends on industrywide support.

Thank you, Louis E. Sola

Federal Maritime Commissioner

Louis E. Sola is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are their own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.