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Seatrade Maritime Middle East Virtual 2020 shed the spotlight on seafarer welfare and shipping’s energy transition, on day two

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Panellists discussed the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the practical solutions concerning clean energy.

Day two of Seatrade Maritime Middle East Virtual 2020 (SMMEV), the region’s leading event in the shipping industry, shed light on pressing concerns that arose due to the pandemic and beyond. Some of the key topics of discussion included the adopting of technologically-advanced tools to improve the industry’s resilience during the pandemic, and the need to employ efficient processes to achieve smart shipping. Panellists also spoke about adopting innovative clean energy solutions in line with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and reduction of carbon emissions and harmful gases.

Leading by example

In his keynote speech before the commencement of the first session titled "Accelerating Shipping’s Clean Energy Transition", Capt Mohamed Al Ali, SVP Ship Management, ADNOC Logistics & Services, expressed his appreciation for the 2,000 plus seafarers working in the company who worked tirelessly throughout the different phases of the pandemic. He emphasised on the significant role that they play and stated that they are the top priority at ADNOC L&S. He also discussed the company’s efforts to provide seafarers with  all forms of support and assistance.

Commenting on adopting clean energy, he asserted, "ADNOC Logistics has delivered on its fleet expansion plans, with the addition of vessels that will ensure reach of oil and gas markets. Also, there is a higher rate of adoption of new technologies, and the development of digital infrastructure, and the resurgence of smart ship management concepts. There is no doubt that the long-term disrupters of the shipping industry are AI and Big Data. We need to embrace that because when the pandemic is over, we will still have some challenges to overcome, especially the ambitious IMO decarbonisation targets to reduce 40 per cent of carbon intensity within the next decade, and halfling the greenhouse emissions by 2050.”

Al Ali added, “ADNOC L&S with its most diverse fleet of more than 120 vessels is making an early assessment on the impact of these regulations. While maintaining the competitiveness of our fleet and investing in clean energy solutions. We have ordered our VLCCs with dual fuel capabilities to enable our vessels to burn LPG as an alternative to a cleaner fuel. In addition, we considered LNG as an option for our new build VLCCs which are due for delivery in the first quarter of 2023. Also, we specified in all our newly acquired vessels to be equipped with energy efficiency devices, enabling more efficient operations and contributing to our smart ship management strategy.”

Chris Morley, Event Director, Seatrade Maritime, said, “We are glad that the discussions held on day two provided attendees with valuable insights, regarding critical topics of clean energy and smart shipping. Speaking about these subjects is integral as they not only impact ship owners and the ship management sector directly, but operations in the entire industry. The industry looks forward to companies like ADNOC L&S who are leading the way forward. We believe the although change will not be easy, but compliance with the IMO new targets and regulations will assure more sustainable and successful businesses in the sector.”

Digitalisation and rapid advancement of the industry

The second and third sessions highlighted aspects including the new disruptive technologies emerging in the maritime sector such as increasing penetration of IoT, setting up remote offices, enabling remote maintenance services, and adopting and incorporating cloud services.

Nabil Ben Soussia, CEO Asia, Middle East and CIS, IEC Telecom Group said, “Digitalisation, automation, and AI could add $13 billion to global GDP by 2025, creating new business opportunities and reinvesting in the economy. The global digital market is expected to grow from $469.8 billion in 2020 to about $1 trillion by 2025. The global marine industry is on the verge of investing $38.4 billion in digitalisation by 2050. That’s why connectivity is the most important factor needed to enable all this transformation in the industry.”

Marc Dragon, Managing Director/CEO, Reefknot Investments said, “In 2019, there were three areas where we needed to focus in, the first was AI and Deep Tech, including predictive analytics and intelligent solutions, data management science, and planning optimisation. The second was logistics digitisation, including automation, RPA, documents automation, and things that will enable smoother flow within the supply chain. The third area was trade finance, not only the supply chain but all other related financing aspects. But after COVID-19 struck, new aspects raised up; first is supply chain visibility, especially dynamic real-time visibility. Second is resilience, of managing resources and assets in a rapidly changing environment. Third is working capital financing because most organisations started to hold their cash to make sure they can survive for the maximum time during the pandemic. That’s why the industry is looking for solutions to manage all these aspects to proceed ahead and overcome the challenges towards recovery.”

Attendees had the opportunity to learn from key leaders in the industry, who gave valuable, strategic information on the benefits of digitalisation, state-of-the-art virtual platforms that increase efficiency and strategies to usher in an era of green shipping.

The exhibition and networking opportunities continue until December 16. The in-person event of Seatrade Maritime Middle East is expected to take place in 2021 at the Expo 2020 site. The hybrid event will allow for virtual interactions, allowing global businesses to work in the Middle East.

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