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Shipping needs a ‘green revolution’ to take on future challenges

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Luo Xiao Feng, director of CCS Wuhan Rules and Research Institute
Energy transformation and climate changes are posing serious challenges to international shipping, which, even though shipping is considered an efficient mode of transport, is under pressure to reduce its emissions, speakers said at the International Marine Intelligent Energy Efficiency Technology Summit 2018 held in Shanghai.

The summit was jointly hosted by Shanghai Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, CSNAME-Ship Design Academic Committee and UBM Asia.

Luo Xiao Feng, director of CCS Wuhan Rules and Research Institute, said China is expected to take more actions on developing green shipping in the coming year, especially in establishing a green ecological shipping system amidst ensuring continued development of the sector.

“As I know, China is going to introduce guidelines and policies starting from next year on shipping emission control and LNG fuel utilisation. The coming regulations will be implemented from South China to North China regions, plus the inland river shipping,” Luo disclosed.

Currently Pearl River Delta is a pilot zone on ship emission control practices, and the relevant authority is researching and will establish an air emission control zone at Xijiang, the main line of Pearl River. Meanwhile, Changjiang River Administration of Navigational Affairs is ready to make a big step in 2019 for LNG fuel utilisation on Yangtze River transportation, according to Luo.

Jiang Chun Yu from Shanghai Zhongchuan NERC-SDT (SNARC) commented on the green intelligent ship development in Yangtze River economic belt at the forum.

Jiang said the General Office of the State Council of China issued “Action plans for three years transportation structure adjustment promotion 2018-2010” to promote river-sea transportation, and terminals and facilities construction at ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Lianyungang, and R&D on domestic bulk carriers and container vessels.

Jiang pointed out that green intelligent inland ship R&D is quite different from ocean-going ships, as the inland shipping channel and port condition are not as good as sea ports, but they have an advantage on communication system as 4G is now available. For now, key considerations of the ship designs are LNG dual-fuel power system and intelligent technology, Jiang said.

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Wang You Zhen, engineer of Marine Design & Research Institute of China, highlighted that commercial shipping routes are also polluting routes, which is why clean energy application on ships is important.

Wang noted that international regulations, economic development and competition amongst the maritime industry have all contributed to an energy revolution of shipping industry.

“We have new energy options of LNG, diesel, battery, wind and solar power et cetera, but it is difficult to say which one is the best for now. We believe that the competition among the clean fuels will continue,” Wang anticipated.

Andreas Nordseth, director general of Danish Maritime Authority, said there is a greater need now to innovate and cooperate to overcome the challenges.

Nordseth emphasised that regulation is the key driver of innovation and new technology, while digitalisation, environmental changes and seaborne trade are the other three main drivers of development and demand for innovation.

“We need new maritime technology, we need strong cross-border collaboration and we need comprehensive ecosystems,” Nordseth believed.

Mathias Sennicksen, area sales manager of Eniram-Wartsila Singapore, observed that data analytics and digitalisation could help to improve ship performance, reduce emission and save cost. The shipping industry is now transiting from being labour-intensive to smart operations and eventually autonomous in future.

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