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Podcast: In conversation with ABS chief Christopher Wiernicki

ABS chairman, president and CEO Christopher Wiernick joins editor of Seatrade Maritime Review Bob Jaques in conversation during the latest episode from our Learning from Leaders series, which brings together influencers from across the industry to impart insight and share their perspective on current factors affecting global maritime operations.

Within this week’s podcast, Wiernicki explores how the role of classification is evolving to adapt to the “unintended safety consequences” of digitalisation and decarbonisation, particularly as adoption of new solutions and technologies accelerates in lieu of the global covid-19 pandemic.

“Things are not going to go back to where we left off,” explains Wiernicki.

“Remote surveys and remote audits are going to be with us, and as we move forwards in this new norm we’re going to see a new balance…this pandemic has allowed us to take a step back and really look at bringing together cloud computing, sensor technology, computer power, data analytics…it has forced digital to be a enabler for class but [also] an enabler for the future of class, which is why this pandemic is more than a disruptor – it’s a catalyst and accelerator for change.”

Throughout the episode, Wiernicki goes on to discuss how cyber security is “redefining our ship to shore interface”; the importance of the Greek market in classification; the pathway towards carbon zero and subsequently alternative.

When discussing strategies for alternative fuel solutions, Wiernicki focuses on the importance of stakeholders adapting both hybrid solutions and a hybrid mindset, indicating that IMO requirements are “not ship specific, but a company specific requirement”, which comes down to operational preferences, challenges and trade routes.

“There is no one silver bullet…[and] the mistake that a lot of people will make is to highlight that one silver bullet…I think that this industry is going to change and recognise that it is a hybrid combination of solutions, technologies and impact of policy [instead],” explains Wiernicki, who also emphasises that 2050 does not completely zero out oil-based fuels; instead accounting for 40% of the 2050 fuel mix as set out in the ABS Pathway to Sustainable Shipping.

Listen and subscribe to The Maritime Podcast for free in your podcast app of choice.

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