Leading cargo buyers Amazon, Patagonia and Tchibo are participating in a new buyers alliance established to accelerate maritime shipping decarbonisation.

The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (Zemba) was officially launched this week in Miami “to provide committed demand for new fuels and technologies needed for the nascent market for clean shipping”.

The alliance will look to procure zero-carbon freight on a forward basis with the delivery of services in two to three years.

“Removing the climate impact of hard-to-abate sectors, such as maritime shipping, requires continuous collaboration, investment, and innovation — which is why we joined Zemba,” Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said.

The alliance plans to issue a request for proposal (RfP) in 2023 to forward procure maritime shipping services that achieve zero or near-zero emissions on a lifecycle basis.

The RfP will cover all greenhouse gases, not limited to CO2, with the delivery of services expected to start in 2025 or 2026.

Zemba plans to run similar tenders with larger volumes of demand until zero-emission shipping becomes mainstream in the industry.

“Through Zemba, we are taking important steps forward together with other cargo owners to unblock challenges, accelerate solutions, and create the demand needed to decarbonise maritime shipping and support a clean energy transition,” Hurst said.

Zemba is an initiative of the Cargo Owners for Zero Emissions Vessels, which is backed by the Aspen Institute think tank.

Shipping lines, in partnership with their fuel suppliers, have been encouraged to participate.