Collaboration – maritime industry’s path to 2030

Mar 25 2019

Collaboration – maritime industry’s path to 2030

The European maritime community gathered last week during the GST Europe conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The event comprised of three meetings – the aforementioned GST Europe, Shipping2030 Europe, and the Sustainable Ports Summit. The Baltic Ports Organization joined the discussion during the latter, talking about port infrastructure for a multi-fuel future.

The event catered mainly to the shipping part of the maritime industry, touching upon port-related matters on its last day, focusing on green technology solutions, as well as presenting a glimpse into the future, identifying topics that will remain relevant in the years to come.

Climate change and the resulting awakening of environmental awareness has had increasingly more impact on the maritime industry. IMO’s recent decisions, such as the Sulphur Cap 2020 and the adoption of a strategy to reduce GHG emissions from shipping by 50% until 2050 (compared to 2008), both created a need for finding ways to comply with these goals. One of the solutions is the implementation of regulation compliant fuels and with these comes the necessity to expand or upgrade existing port infrastructure.

Baltic ports have long recognized this need and these days are at the forefront when it comes to laying the groundwork for a path to an emission-free future. The global Sulphur Cap will restrict the amount of Sulphur in fuel to only 0,5% but the Baltic Sea region (BSR) has long been operating under much harsher restrictions due to its status as a Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA). LNG was the chosen compliance fuel and the Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) set out to make the transition as smooth as possible. This was accomplished by the “LNG in the Baltic Sea Ports project I”, gathering 7 ports and creating a stakeholder platform that facilitated dialogue between port authorities, ship operators, gas infrastructure providers, energy traders, and bunkering companies. The network has been then expanded by additional 5 ports, during the “LNG in the Baltic Sea Ports project II”, eventually leading to the construction of infrastructure.

At this time, the LNG bunkering network in the BSR is entering its next phase, with the creation of a bunkering fleet. Skangas’ Coralius, an LNG feeder, and carrier, has been in operation since June 2017, and the end of 2018 saw Nauticor’s Kairos, an LNG bunker supply vessel, enter service further improving LNG availability in the region. The year 2020 will see the next bunkering vessel start its operations, on order by Eesti Gaas.

In his presentation, Bogdan Ołdakowski, BPO’s Secretary General, also mentioned the growing popularity of cold ironing. Also known as the on-shore power supply (OPS) technology, it allows for significant reduction of noise and emissions (e.g. GHG) from ships at berth. The network of Baltic ports offering OPS connections is growing, including, among others, Gothenburg, Trelleborg, Stockholm, and Ystad. Wide-scale OPS implementation faces many challenges, such as the highly diversified field of involved parties and the constant discussion regarding cost distribution or regulatory hurdles. Despite this, OPS implementation is well underway in the BSR, another testament to the region’s status as a leader when it comes to green technologies.

And what about the ship operators?

In his presentation, opening the conference, Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO mentioned a clear need to act. Climate change is visible to the naked eye and the industry needs to respond. That said, he warned against perceiving hectic action as obligatory. A measured response is far more viable and will bring betters end results.

Pedersen remained optimistic. In his view, the shipping industry going the path of zero-emissions is not a question of “if”, rather a question of “when”. The expectations set before the sector can not only be met but even exceeded, given the right approach and sufficient cooperation within and outside the industry.

And this was perhaps the most important message of the event, one clearly visible during all days. The collaboration was seen as the key to achieving the ambitious goals faced by the maritime industry. Exchange of experiences, sharing of knowledge and solutions – these are the tools that need to be employed in the years to come.

More information about the event and the programme can be found on the event ’s website.