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Collaboration to the fore as maritime charts its course towards a greener future

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The ‘safe space’ of the new global Maritime Emissions Reduction Centre will offer shipowners and operators a perfect opportunity to collaborate for the industry’s best interests, writes Elina Papageorgiou, Lloyd’s Register Vice President – Greece.

The maritime industry finds itself at a pivotal moment, tasked with the urgent need to address its environmental footprint. With emissions-reduction targets set by the IMO, shipowners are under pressure to transition towards more energy efficient practices that reduce emissions. In this pursuit, collaboration and innovation is crucial, and initiatives like the Maritime Emissions Reduction Centre (M-ERC) in Athens are key to accelerating the reduction of emissions of our sector in the short-term.

Co-founded by the Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub (LR MDH) and prominent Greek shipowners, the M-ERC embodies a collective effort to confront the challenges of emissions reduction head-on. By uniting industry stakeholders, including ship operators, class, and inviting new collaborators like technology providers and other OEMs, the M-ERC is fostering an environment conducive to research, innovation, and practical solutions that can drive forward the energy transition not just in the future, but today..

An Open Platform

The M-ERC’s aim is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise, enabling participants to learn from each other’s successes and failures in a ‘safe space’. Building on these experiences, the M-ERC will then conduct programs of research and development to address these identified performance gaps. This collaborative environment ensures continuous learning, giving stakeholders visibility of the latest advancements and innovations in emissions reduction and operational efficiency.

Crucially, the M-ERC operates with a commitment to the greater good of the industry, rather than serving the competitive advantage of individual companies. By fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing, the M-ERC aims to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices across the maritime sector.


Seatrade MaritimeCollaboration to the fore as maritime charts its course towards a greener future


Taking Tangible Steps

At the heart of the M-ERC’s mission lies the recognition that reducing emissions today is a shared endeavour. While pursuing their individual business objectives, shipowners must also consider the wider impact of their actions on the environment and the industry as a whole. As Evangelos Marinakis, CEO of Capital Maritime & Trading Corp, stated upon the founding of the M-ERC: “The energy transition in the shipping industry is a challenge that requires collective effort.”

Optimisation of the existing fleet to meet emissions-reduction targets set by the IMO is one of the M-ERC’s primary goals. With a focus on practical solutions that can be implemented today, the M-ERC aims to leverage energy-saving technologies and operational practices to achieve tangible results.

Retrofit solutions will also play a key part for the existing fleet if we are to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. With a full orderbook until the latter part of the decade, as a founder member, training and upskilling across ports, shoreside staff and seafarers is a key goal of the LR MDH and will be crucial in developing the required skills, such as naval architecture and fuel handling, that will be required for retrofitting to be a success. LR’s Engine Retrofit Report estimates that 9,000-12,900 large merchant vessels could consider engine retrofits to decarbonise by 2050.

Notably, the M-ERC has also teamed up with the National Technical University of Athens which will play the role of scientific advisor to the centre, offering support on its programme.

Global Expertise, Local Support

Location is also important. The selection of Athens as the M-ERC’s base is certainly strategic, given Greece’s significant role in the global shipping industry. LR is well placed to support the M-ERC from Athens and has a strong presence in the region with its head of Bulk and Gas segments based out of the country, alongside the

New Constructions team and Global Technical Client care centre. The M-ERC underlines Greece as a global maritime centre and provides fertile ground for collaboration and innovation in a country that represents 20% of the world fleet and 60% of the European fleet, while allowing LR to offer local support, coupled with global expertise.

The M-ERC’s ambitions, however, extend beyond Athens, with plans to expand to other locations and broaden membership to include additional stakeholders.

In the journey towards decarbonisation, collaboration and innovation are paramount. The M-ERC represents a significant step forward in this journey, providing a safe space for industry stakeholders to come together, exchange ideas, and drive meaningful change. As the maritime industry navigates towards a greener future, initiatives like the M-ERC will play a crucial role in shaping the transition towards sustainable practices. By working together towards common goals, the industry can achieve a lasting impact and ensure a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations to come.

There's more of the latest in our Hellas Maritime Report 2024, take a look and find out what's happening.