Insights from Leaders in the Maritime Industry

What kind of leadership do we need to speed up the energy transition?

The energy transition is a priority for the entire maritime industry. While the urgency and necessity are recognized by everyone, the actual transition is often a complex and long-term process that needs good leadership to see it through.

Four leaders in the maritime sector, predominantly WISTA members, shared their views on how we can facilitate and accelerate the energy transition movement.

Special Report for WISTA The Netherlands – Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association

by Marjolein van Herel

With great thanks to WISTA and these experts for sharing their knowledge and views:

11. Training creates engagement

Switching to new fuels is not only a matter of technology. A lot depends on the crew knowing how to implement these new technologies. For example, the bunkering procedure for LNG is significantly different from the other bunker procedures and the crew needs to be trained to execute it safely and expertly.

In addition, the back-office needs to understand these new procedures. Proper training will ensure that crew feels safe and confident to work with the new technology and become more involved with the transition.

Considerable efficiency and energy savings could also be achieved if different certification bodies would join forces and look closely at the overlap in their courses.

Many requirements could be combined into one basic training. Talk to each other; working together is the formula for the entire energy transition.”

– Marja Walraven-Behrend, Marketing Manager STC-KNRM

12. Support at Policy Level

Uncertainty about future developments and hesitation to take risks can be obstacles for the energy transition.

Sometimes new rules and regulations need to be created or existing regulations need to be adapted as technology is developing.

So make sure you keep involving the governmental bodies, work hand in hand.

International policies, government regulations, and subsidies can be helpful to help companies take that hurdle.

Programs to reward companies for sustainable initiatives may serve as an incentive for companies to undertake more transitional initiatives.”

– Aleyda Ortega, owner at Ortega-Marine

Currently, many shipping companies are transitioning to LNG, but what if hydrogen technology becomes feasible in five years?

The government and authorities have provided guidelines and regulations for the transition to LNG, which made it easier to switch. But with hydrogen, for example, those regulations are still lacking.”

– Marja Walraven-Behrend, Marketing Manager STC-KNRM

13. Financial – short-term cost and long-term gains

What happens if working in a sustainable manner is more expensive than the current method? That depends on the circumstances.

In the civil sector, when you are working on government-funded projects, chances are that sustainability requirements are embedded in the project set-up.

That means that you’re required to meet these criteria, or that you get extra points awarded for your bid if you can offer more sustainable ways to approach it.

If you’re not dealing with projects funded by development agencies or government, then it depends.

We’re finding some companies are embedding sustainability values into their corporate philosophies, but that still needs to be translated into standards that you ask your supply chain to meet.”

– Erica Gray, Sustainability Manager at Mammoet

At some point, fleet owners may need to change or upgrade the engines in their vessels.

They need to make an economic assessment of the cost and how much they can support with finance or subsidies, and then there are the technical issues and the negotiations between the sectors.

However, if they don’t, they might not get all the necessary permits.”

– Aleyda Ortega, owner at Ortega-Marine

14. Efficient planning to reduce costs

Good planning and good communication with the customer helps to make the most efficient use of equipment or ships.

We can quantify how that cuts costs and emissions and you can also analyze what makes the most impact so you can take that lesson on into the next project.

Further efficiency can be achieved with software tools. For example, if you can plan your sailing route more efficiently, you can reduce your fuel consumption and thus emissions.

This software needs to be adopted widely by ports around the world, but also by shipping companies, in order to share enough information so that the entire chain will be able to benefit from it.

This needs to be built on trust and it’s up to the next generation to adopt it.

The next generation is much more concerned with the environment. As they enter the industry, they will also bring about more change. So, not only software needs to be widely accepted.

In fact, all solutions currently available to bring about the energy transition must be widely accepted. Let people experience it.

Let them try things because every step we can take is one. It will be 2050 before we know it.

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