Three Trends to Expect for Greener Shipping in 2023 and Beyond


Shipping executives and industry leaders alike already know the importance of reducing emissions in the shipping industry and the need for green initiatives, as they look to protect the environment and meet customer demand for cleaner shipping. In the next few years, the landscape of the shipping industry is set to change drastically with further environmentally-friendly developments. We explore the expectations for greener shipping in 2023 and the strategies that shippers can use to ensure cleaner shipping in their operations.

1. Green Shipping Technologies Will Be Tested and Implemented More This Year 

In the next few years, shipping companies will be able to take advantage of new technologies that will help them reduce their emissions. These include hybrid and electric ships, advanced propulsion systems, and more efficient hull designs. Companies can also employ LNG fuel and biofuels to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, new technologies such as smart sensors and analytics can help companies monitor their emissions and identify potential areas of improvement.

As the technology develops, companies will be able to further reduce their emissions and increase their sustainability. For example, some companies are already looking into autonomous shipping, which could reduce the need for human labor and therefore reduce emissions.

We have already seen large shipping companies, such as Maersk, MSC, Hapag-Lloyd and others testing out prototype greener, electric ships. MV Yara Birkeland was considered the world’s first autonomous electric cargo ship, but it only had a capacity of 120 TEUs. Once the power of fully-electric ships is confirmed as a viable propulsion system, larger ships with much-higher TEU capacities will be tested and used, leading to widespread adoption. This will likely not occur in 2023, but major progress will be made in proving viability.

2. Government and Private-Sector Regulations and Incentives Will Increase in 2023

In addition to technological advancements, 2023 may see a number of new regulations and incentives that will encourage companies to reduce their emissions. These include carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes, and other regulations that will penalize companies for emitting too much carbon dioxide and other emissions like methane. Additionally, there will be further incentives for companies that take steps to reduce their emissions, such as grants, subsidies, and other forms of financial support.

We have already seen initiatives such as IMO 2030, a campaign to reduce emissions 40% from 2008 levels, that started several years ago. Now, the private sector is being targeted. For example, just this month, large U.S. retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot have been pushed to come together to end port pollution by the end of this decade. A new port from Pacific Environment and, two nonprofits, has singled out some of America’s largest companies to take some action to reduce shipping-related emissions. It is possible, and maybe even likely, that one or more of these giant retailers does take some actions over the next year to show at least some signs of action on the topic.

New government or private-sector regulations and incentives will encourage other companies to invest in greener shipping technologies and adopt more sustainable practices. This will help the industry move towards a greener future and reduce its environmental impact. We anticipate that as prices come down for cleaner technologies, more companies will start looking at implementing changes in the supply chain beginning this year.

3. Collaboration and Education Will Grow as Companies Show the Way to a Greener Future

In addition to technological and regulatory measures, shipping companies will need to work together to reduce their emissions. This could include sharing best practices, coordinating efforts to reduce emissions, and educating their employees about sustainability. Additionally, companies can collaborate with other stakeholders, such as port authorities, to reduce emissions in their supply chain. Public and private-sector pressure is likely to accelerate this behavior in 2023 and into next year.

These collaborations will help companies reduce their emissions and create a more sustainable shipping industry. They will also help companies stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for future regulations and incentives. No shipping company, or retailer who ships tons of goods, will want to appear on the wrong side of this. That trend will continue throughout the year.


In the next few years, the shipping industry is set to undergo a major transformation into a greener, future-forward industry. Companies can take advantage of new technologies, regulations, and incentives to reduce their emissions and become more sustainable. Additionally, they can collaborate with other stakeholders to reduce their environmental impact. By taking these steps, companies can ensure that they are prepared for the future of greener shipping in 2023 and beyond. Outside pressure will likely accelerate this trend starting this year.