A CARBON tax to reduce the shipping industry’s environmental impact has been endorsed by three senior international shipping figures.

A.P Møller – Mærsk chief operating officer Søren Toft, PSA International chief executive Tan Chong Meng and chairman of both BW Group and Singapore Maritime Foundation Andreas Sohmen-Pao spoke as part of a panel at Sea Asia Global Forum in Singapore.

The panellists discussed the IMO 2020 regulations as “a positive step change” for the industry but acknowledged more detail is required to understand how they will be overseen.

In this context, potential for a carbon tax also came up for discussion.

A panel session at SeaAsia, Singapore. Credit: SeaAsia

Mr Toft, Mr Sohmen-Pao and Mr Tan agreed that “a carbon tax is an important step to encourage the industry to address climate change”.

Mr Tan stressed that “any tax needs to be applied to all players in order for the industry to remain competitive and fair for all”.

Mr Toft added it was important for the industry to invest for the future and one way to do this was to channel revenues into research and development to address decarbonisation in shipping.


Fellow panellist, E.R. Capital chairman Erck Rickmers, said while the maritime industry had been seen as lagging in adopting new technology, the industry was ready to adopt change.

Opportunities presented by digitisation were discussed, particularly the ability for technology to improve communication between shore workers and seafarers, with Mr Toft, highlighting the use of sensors on ships.