The Singapore Port and the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, which consists of the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on establishing a “green and digital shipping corridor” on April 24, 2023. The corridor is intended to support the reduction of carbon emissions tied to the maritime shipping industry and to implement digital tools, such as autonomous piloting and data tracking, to make shipping more efficient. This is a result of the continuation of efforts initiated at the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in late 2022. C40 Cities, a network of 96 cities across six continents committed to capping global heating at 1.5 degrees Celsius, supported the MOU.
Both port complexes have a history of collaboration, through the Port Authorities Roundtable, chainPORT, and through the US-Singapore bilateral relationship as outlined in the US-Singapore Climate Partnership and the US-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation.
Maritime shipping facilitates 80% of global trade but is a major carbon emitter, accounting for roughly 2% of global carbon emissions as of 2022 which may rise to 17% by 2050 if the industry is unchecked
Beyond just carbon dioxide, maritime shipping is also a major emitter of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. The Singapore Port and the San Pedro Bay Port complex have resolved to address emissions by facilitating the use and storage of low- and zero- emission fuels, such as hydrogen and methanol.
The Singapore Port and the San Pedro Bay Port Complex are important stops in international trade and support global supply chains, given the Singapore Port’s service as the world’s largest transhipment point and the San Pedro Bay Port Complex’s role as a key entryway into the United States.
The Singapore Port is the world's second busiest container port. The Port of Los Angeles, and the Port of Long Beach are the first and second busiest container ports in the United States, respectively. Establishing a green and digital shipping corridor between these major shipping locations builds on existing cooperation between the two countries and provides the opportunity for broader cooperation in the future.
Brendan Stewart is an East-West Center Young Professional Program Participant. He is a student in Georgetown University's Master of Science in Foreign Service program.