How did we get there

Committed to improving the role of charterers and shipowners in addressing global environmental issues

The Sea Cargo Charter was developed in an effort spearheaded by a diverse group of cargo owners – Anglo American, Cargill, Dow, Total, Trafigura – and shipowners – Euronav, Norden, Stena Bulk – in collaboration with Stephenson Harwood and with expert support provided by the Global Maritime Forum, UMAS and Smart Freight Centre.

  • April 2018: IMO Agreement sets level of ambition
  • June 2018: Workshop on climate risk and collective ambition for the Poseidon Principles in London
  • September 2018 & April 2019: Workshops in Singapore and Geneva to gather feedback from a broad group of stakeholders on the development of the Sea Cargo Charter
  • June 2019: Launch of the Poseidon Principles
  • October 2019: Drafting group kick-off meeting at the Global Maritime Forum Annual Summit in Singapore
  • November 2019 – March 2020: Drafting group begins work on initial principles, which becomes known as the Sea Cargo Charter
  • March 2020: Series of webinars to seek feedback on initial draft of the Sea Cargo Charter from a wider group of stakeholders
  • March 2020 – July 2020: Drafting group completes the Sea Cargo Charter
  • 7 October 2020: Launch of the Sea Cargo Charter during the Global Maritime Forum Virtual High-Level Meeting
  • August 2023 – January 2024: Sea Cargo Charter working group on the scope expansion adapts the Sea Cargo Charter framework to fully include shipowners
  • April 2024: Scope expansion to shipowners

The ambition to develop the Sea Cargo Charter finds its source in the very early stages of the Poseidon Principles. Some charterers who were part of the drafting group of the Poseidon Principles voiced the need for a transparent process for reporting emissions relating to chartering activities.

Discussions with additional large bulk cargo owners revealed that the need for more transparency has been motivated by pressure from charterers’ customers facing clients and lending institutions, internal pressure from the group to reduce overall emissions, and a need for quality data.

It was consequently decided to develop a Poseidon Principles equivalent framework specifically for charterers. The four core Principles are the same as for the Poseidon Principles and the Sea Cargo Charter, but the two frameworks rely on different metrics.

Two workshops were held in late 2018 and early 2019 in Geneva and Singapore to elicit feedback from a wide group of stakeholders on the development of the Sea Cargo Charter. The workshops succeeded in engaging a wider group of charterers and showed that there is indeed interest in a data transparency initiative across a larger set of charterers in bulk shipping. Some charterers expressed a strong interest in taking the lead to develop a set of principles similar to the Poseidon Principles to increase transparency regarding GHG emissions in the shipping value chains of charterers and consequently better inform decision making to better align their activities with responsible management of environmental impacts.

A drafting group of leading and diverse cargo-owners, ship-owners and experts was subsequently convened to develop the Sea Cargo Charter. The drafting group was chaired by Jan Dieleman, President of Cargill Ocean Transportation and composed of owners of varying segments – grains & agricultural products, chemicals, energy, metals & mining – and geographies as well as other experts and stakeholders who have been engaged and consulted throughout the process of developing the Sea Cargo Charter.

In April 2024, the Sea Cargo Charter adapted its framework to also allow shipowners who do not necessarily charter-in vessels or wish to primarily report on their owned vessels to join the Association.