IMO CARES decarbonization technology challenge

Source: IMO

Technology providers from around the globe will be invited to submit innovative decarbonization solutions for ports and domestic vessels in Africa and the Caribbean for the IMO CARES (Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping) project’s Marine Technology Global Challenge.

The challenge aims to identify solutions to accelerate green technology uptake in developing countries, with a specific emphasis on small island developing states and least developed countries. Up to four winning technology providers will receive funding to create bespoke proposals for use of their solutions in countries located in the two regions.

Jose Matheickal, Director of the Department of Projects and Partnerships at IMO said, “Reducing GHG emissions is an urgent, shared goal that requires global collaboration and the use of all available technologies. The IMO CARES Technology Global Challenge will bring together technology providers from around the world and facilitate use of their decarbonization solutions for domestic vessels and ports in countries in Africa and the Caribbean. I hope that any technology provider with a suitable solution will enter the challenge.”

Anton Rhodes, Project Manager of IMO CARES, said, “Technology, knowledge sharing and collaboration are critical elements for greener ships and ports, and our global challenge is designed to overcome barriers that developing nations face on this joint journey. The IMO CARES Marine Technology Global Challenge is designed to overcome the technology gap and will foster the development of cutting-edge solutions for decarbonizing ports and domestic vessels in Africa and the Caribbean. This challenge and the IMO CARES project itself align with IMO’s commitment to making sure that no country is left behind as we move towards a greener and more sustainable future for the maritime sector.”

How the challenge works

The challenge can be entered by any company across the world that has market-ready decarbonization technology suitable for use in ports, and on ships of under 5,000 gt (such as inter-island vessels, port vessels and fishing vessels). Wind, solar, electric, and optimization technologies have already been identified as likely to be suitable, but the challenge is technology-neutral. Companies are encouraged to tailor their entries to the needs of the specific countries in both regions where the solutions will be deployed (see timeline for more information).

Participating technology providers stand a chance to receive funding ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 USD to develop a full technical proposal if their concept is selected.  

There are substantial funds of approximately $500,000 that may be made available to the selected proposals for the demonstration of the technologies in each participating country, under the Global MTCC Network (GMN) project, which is funded by the European Union.

Challenge timeline

The challenge is set to proceed in several steps. Identification of participating countries and their local technology challenges is set for completion by September 2023. Following this, all competition details will be announced (in an online event) and published on the IMO and IMO CARES websites.

Companies, organizations, and institutions looking to enter the challenge will have a two-month window between October and November 2023 to submit their concepts. All submissions will be assessed by the expert judging panel over the following two months and the challenge winners will be revealed in January 2024. The judging panel, who will be appointed when the competition is formally launched, will include representatives from the regional MTCCs, academic bodies and stakeholders from the countries chosen for the proposals.

Judging criteria

The expert panel will assess the proposed technology solutions based on greenhouse gas reduction, effects on vessel and port operational costs, technology costs and installation feasibility, scalability, maintenance requirements, and ease of application across a larger number of vessels and ports.

Launch event

The virtual launch event (21 July) provided information about the IMO CARES project and details about the challenge timeline and entry criteria. Information about the decarbonization aspirations and challenges faced by the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) in Africa and the Caribbean was provided by representatives from the MTCCs. A recording is available here.


The IMO CARES (Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping) project is funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is focused on the needs of developing countries to meet the IMO Energy Efficiency and IMO GHG Strategy targets and thus help drive the achievement of global GHG emissions reduction.

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