If 2021 was the year that saw decarbonisation become the talk of the shipping industry, 2022 may be a key 12 months to turn that talk into action.

The sector will have to prepare as the International Maritime Organization gears up to impose key short-term measures next year. Perhaps more consequentially, the European Union will roll out the first phase of shipping's inclusion in the Emissions Trading System at the start of 2023.

That comes as last year saw industry voices broadly come to terms with growing urgency to decarbonise, and for more ambitious goals than the IMO's current targets.

"As a result, 2022 will be a decisive year in reshaping how our sector continues to transform the design, look, and engineering of the assets that transport the world's cargo," wrote Stena Bulk chief executive Erik Hanell and just-retired Concordia Maritime chief executive Kim Ullman in our annual look at the year ahead.

Also crucial this year will be the debates over the next steps in the rules aimed at pushing shipping towards decarbonisation, particularly as the IMO considers market-based measures such as a carbon levy.

"This year is a key one for policy progress to drive shipping's fuel transition," wrote Tristan Smith, a reader in shipping and energy at University College London's UCL Energy Institute.

Many voices in this report pointed to a need for an IMO-centred regulatory roadmap that will ensure that there is a level playing field and that shipowners do not bear all the burden of greenhouse gas cuts.

Others, however, highlighted the limitations of IMO action.

"The International Maritime Organization does not show the speed to be the leading star we need," said Kristin Holth, a board member at multiple shipping companies and one of the architects of the Poseidon Principles.

"The push will now need to come from other sources."

Gary Dixon, Bob Rust, Lucy Hine, Paul Berrill, Michael Juliano, Ian Lewis, Jonathan Boonzaier, Harry Papachristou, Irene Ang, Joe Brady, Adam Corbett and Dale Wainwright contributed to this report.