Britain, host of this year's COP26 climate change summit, called Monday for net zero global shipping emissions by 2050 and the launch of non-polluting commercial vessels by 2025.
The UK government wants to "chart a course" for cleaner shipping, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on the first day of London's international shipping week maritime event.
The zero target needs agreement from the International Maritime Organisation, the Department for Transport added in a statement, noting that shipping currently accounts for three percent of global emissions.
"As a maritime nation with a rich history, and host of COP26 this year, we are proud to be at the forefront of the greener era for maritime, charting an international course for the future of clean shipping," Shapps said in the statement.
"Taking action now allows us to lead the charge on this global shift, creating highly-skilled jobs for British workers and shaping the landscape for what clean shipping and trade will look like for future generations."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative administration, which also seeks to reduce Britain's carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, will in November host the COP26 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow.
This week's international shipping week comes after sea freight prices have rocketed in recent months due to the global supply crunch and a shortage of vessels.
Shipping companies, buoyed by keen demand, are currently splashing out cash on expanding their fleets with newly-built ships.
As a result, new shipping capacity is forecast hit a record-matching level by 2023, according to a recent estimate from maritime brokerage Banchero Costa.