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Live from Posidonia

Zero-carbon fuel supply crucial to meeting GHG targets says ClassNK

Photo: Gary Howard ClassNK-CEO.jpg
ClassNK CEO Hiroaki Sakashita in Athens
As ClassNK approaches its 50th anniversary in the Greek market CEO Hiroaki Sakashita speaks about the longstanding relationship between the class society and Greek shipping.

Approaching global regulations on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions are essential and indispensable to the future of international shipping, Sakashita told Seatrade Maritime News at Posidonia, but reaching the goals of the revised IMO GHG reduction strategy will take investment and determination.

He encouraged stakeholders from across the industry to get involved in the regulatory process and be heard at IMO through their member states and representative organisations, as participation will create the most robust regulation.

The class society’s analysis of the revised IMO strategy highlighted the development of supply capacity of carbon-free fuels as the most crucial issue in meeting its targets. “Huge investment shall be made in this sector. However, for the time being, we cannot expect sufficient supply of carbon-free fuel,” said Sakashita.

“Thus, I assume that we have to utilise every possible measure to reduce GHG emission for the next decade. The measures may include utilisation of biofuels such as bio-methanol and bio-diesel, energy saving devices including wind-assisted propulsion, and carbon capture and storage.”

With a daunting array of regulations governing shipping, and a range of technologies to both on the market and under development to help meet regulatory targets, ClassNK developed its comprehensive transition support services to assist shipowners and operators on their decarbonisation journey.

As a part of this service the class society published its ClassNK Alternative Fuel Insight to support future fuel selection, outlining the main factors to consider with each fuel type, their prominence in the orderbook, and forecasts of their performance under global and regional regulations.

While there are many variables that impact the commercial decision to invest in a particular fuel such as carbon costs, fuel availability and fuel pricing, it is important to model these factors and give shipowners the best support possible to making a decision, said Sakashita.

The publication also serves to highlight Sakashita’s view on alternative fuel availability. Its graphs on green and blue fuel production projects for methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen remain in the concept and feasibility study phase, with few yet to reach the more advanced final investment decision, construction or operational stages.

With around 1,000 Greek vessels under class, Japan’s ClassNK is the leading classification society for Greek owners by vessel number, and its roots in Greece reach back to 1975 when its Piraeus office opened. The office now has 21 staff and handles around 600 vessel surveys per year.

“It is a great honour to be chosen in Greece, one of the world's leading maritime countries, and we believe this reflects the high evaluation of ClassNK's services,” said Sakashita.

While it holds a strong position in the Greek market, Sakashita was aware of how close other classification societies were to ClassNK’s market share, a factor which drives a focus on improvement. “Enhancing service in Greece is of utmost importance to us, and we keep offering various functions, not only classification surveys and audits, but also daily technical support, providing information, and support for training and education and more.

“I expect that the role of classification societies will expand along with business transformation in maritime sector. ClassNK is now tackling to expand its services beyond conventional class services with the slogan ‘Charting the future’. Charting the future together with partners is my biggest challenge,” said Sakashita.