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Live from Posidonia

International measures essential to promote green fuel development: ClassNK CEO

Photo: ClassNK ClassNK President and CEO Hiroaki Sakashita.
ClassNK President and CEO Hiroaki Sakashita.
International measures such as carbon pricing are essential for the development of technology and infrastructure for zero carbon fuels for shipping, says ClassNK President and CEO Hiroaki Sakashita.

In an interview with Seatrade Maritime News at Posidonia 2022 Sakashita said that based on pilot projects for green fuels ammonia was progressing well as a technical solution, however, it was not currently an economically viable one. Therefore, international policies to support such developments were “indispensable as no-one can make the investment in the future fuel supply chains without the economic feasibility”.

“International, mandatory, policy measures, that is a kind of carbon pricing, are essential to provide the investment for the technology or the infrastructure, and that will make it economically viable for investment – without that no-one can proceed,” Sakashita explained.

The correct body for such a policy would be the International Maritime Organization (IMO), although he noted that the European Union was already proceeding with its own Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for shipping.

However, Sakashita does not believe the EU scheme will offer sufficient scale. “Without the international framework the effect to promote the investment it would be a bit small. To promote action worldwide an international framework is indispensable. I think the governments and the industry have to collaborate,” he explained.

On a more national scale in Japan ClassNK has been involved with maritime industry collaborations which have received strong support from the government. The Planning and Design Centre for Greener Ships set up in 2020 has seen the country’s normally competitive shipyards come together to collaborate on future ship designs.

“Over last two years the Japanese shipbuilder started to collaborate to develop next generation vessel, which aim to be carbon neutral. That is quite unique because before that each shipbuilder tended to develop new vessel designs by themselves, now they start to collaborate,” Sakashita said.

Japanese shipbuilders remain favoured by a number of Greek owners and have been active in ordering newbuildings at the country's yards in the last 18 months. “Quite a lot of the Greek owners put the orders in Japanese shipyards. There are a certain number of Greek owners who prefer to put their orders in Japanese yards,” Sakashita noted.

Last Friday ahead of Posidonia 2022 ClassNK took the opportunity to hold a committee meeting with Greek shipowners and customers to discuss the future course of the shipping industry particularly focusing on decarbonisation and digitalisation.

“The future picture is not clear at the moment so there are quite a lot of things to be discussed with our customers. We provided our insight on the future course of decarbonisation, upcoming EEXI (Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index) and CII (Carbon Intensity Index), and alternative fuels,” he said.

In the near term the introduction of CII is seen as particularly pressing for shipowners and ClassNK is bringing in new services to support shipowners with it coming into force. It is also enhancing its services to shipowners that go beyond just meeting mandatory rules.