A new shipping group, M7, has formed to mirror the gathering of world leaders at the G7 summit in the UK county of Cornwall.

Shipping association representatives from G7 countries along with Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa made up M7's first meeting, organised by the UK Chamber of Shipping,

They were joined by Bimco, the International Chamber of Shipping and the European Community Shipowners' Association.

The G7 countries comprise the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

Top of the M7 agenda was a call for governments to back the shipping industry’s proposal for a $5bn research and development decarbonisation fund.

The fund, to be collected from a levy on bunkers, is known as the International Maritime Organization Maritime Research Fund. It will be discussed at the IMO's Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting under way in London.

The shipping associations also agreed to urge governments to assist the development of digital documentation to help facilitate world trade in the post-pandemic recovery.

UK Chamber of Shipping president John Denholm chaired the first M7 meeting. Photo: TradeWinds Events

M7 delegates also said they wanted to see governments follow the US and Canada in prioritising seafarers for vaccination.

“The meeting noted the magnificent job that seafarers had been doing through the pandemic and urged governments to make vaccines available to seafarers,” said UK Chamber of Shipping president John Denholm, who chaired the M7 meeting.

“It also fully supported the need to decarbonise and agreed that if the industry is to meet its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050, large-scale investment in research and development is necessary, as without this we simply will not have the technologies needed for the greener, cleaner shipping industry that we all want.”