Eleven international industrialists led by French energy giants Engie and Total have formed a coalition to fast-track development of technologies to accelerate the transitioning of the rail, road, sea and air transport sectors to clean-energy operations.

The group, which also includes French tyre company Michelin, Finnish ship engine-maker Wärtsilä and electrical contracting conglomerate Schnieder Electric, has set out goals to see "genuine technological breakthroughs with tangible results" by 2030 in developing an “extensive portfolio of clean energy sources”, lowering energy consumption for goods transported and removing “a substantial proportion” of emissions linked to logistics.

“Our common goal … is to address the challenges posed by sustainable mobility in the transport and logistics industry by reducing emissions, fight global warming and protect biodiversity,” the consortium said in a statement.

Nine “concrete projects” have been fashioned by consortium working groups set up over the past few months, ranging over green hydrogen procurement for the transport sector; biofuels; clean-energy transitioning across the supply chain; zero-emission; and “multimodal platforms” for more environmentally-responsible logistics.

“The economic recovery plans and both public and private investments they will generate will structure our economies for many years to come. It is therefore essential to seize this opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of all industries, particularly transportation,” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, chairman of the board of Engie.

“The coalition is proof that solutions are within reach if we work in a coordinated manner and across the entire value chain. They will be an asset for our companies and for the economy as a whole.”

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said: “Total shares the ambition to get to net-zero emissions by 2050, together with society, for its global business across its production and energy products used by its customers.

“By joining the coalition for the energy of the future alongside major partners, we intend to support and accelerate the joint development of tangible energy solutions, directly contributing to the reduction of carbon intensity of the transportation and logistics sectors.”

Jaakko Eskola, CEO of Wärtsilä, stated: “This coalition perfectly aligns with our purpose to enable sustainable societies with smart technology, [which along with] research into alternative future fuels, and a holistic approach to raising efficiencies in all aspects of shipping and port operations [will make it possible to] create a smart marine ecosystem.

The coalition, launched in late 2019 with the backing of French President Emmanuel Macron, will present initial findings of its work on cross-sectoral energy transition in January 2021 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.