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Consistently pushing forward

Manta Marine Technologies Ina Reksten, CEO Manta Marine Technologies.jpg
With no silver bullet for shipping’s decarbonisation challenges, a steady pace forward is the way to achieve long term green goals, says Ina Reksten, CEO of Manta Marine Technologies.

Although the maritime sector is set on a pathway to decarbonisation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonising world trade. The decades-long timeline for the target of net-zero by 2050 set by the IMO, illustrates the difficult task of cutting emissions from shipping and the need for multiple steps along our emissions reduction journey. The 81st Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting in March that IMO agreed on a draft outline of a possible “IMO net-zero framework” for GHG emission reduction from shipping, which involves an economic pricing mechanism, requiring shipping companies to pay a fee for every ton of carbon emitted.

With the emerging new reality for shipping, navigating through the regulations and requirements while safeguarding business will be challenging, but it also represents opportunities.

Understanding opportunity

A direct consequence of new and increased regulations are more reporting requirements. It can be seen as a burden, but also an opportunity to collect vital data in a structured way. By monitoring and measuring fuel consumption and other data from vessels, we can compare the effects of operational changes on ship performance. We can use this data to identify optimal parameters that will help individual vessels and global fleets meet efficiency targets, using a voyage-by-voyage, month-by-month approach.

An important step towards a sustainable industry is reducing the amount of energy ships use, irrespective of fuel type. Not only will this reduce costs through reduced consumption, but it will also decrease the amount of future fuel, reduce emissions, and lessen the amount of fuel that needs to be carried, thereby make more space available for cargo.

Steady progress must also include combining technologies to deliver better results. For example, we have seen that using Manta Marine’s fuel optimisation technology, FuelOpt, alongside wind propulsion systems can significantly reduce fuel consumption without hampering safety or increasing crew administrative burden. This is but one example of a holistic, cross-technology approach to deliver low carbon vessel operations of the future.

Operational experience is valuable on a per-vessel basis and further benefit can be extracted by expanding insights across fleets. Fleetwide performance data, like that offered by our Fleet Analytics tool, aggregates data from individual vessels into one place, unlocking information so that ships can be benchmarked against one another. As well as each vessel and crew learning from their own experiences, fleetwide analysis enables learning from the experiences of others.

Collecting knowledge

The process of building on existing knowledge creates opportunities to reflect on breakthroughs big and small, inviting fresh perspectives to expand our understanding of each step forward. It allows us to leverage our diversity of knowledge and experience and apply it to shipping’s greatest global challenge.

Certain alternative fuels promise huge reductions in maritime emissions in the future, but reaching widespread adoption and the consequent environmental benefits will require the application of information from hard-earned experience and cumulative achievements. This process has already started and is something shipowners can benefit from today in the form of reports, studies and data platforms that have already begun to impact decision-making and investment.

The steady accumulation of information, rather than an abrupt change in operations that calls for complete retraining, also benefits the seafarers, who will be at the frontline of the transition and will need comprehensive training and certification. When not rushed, equipment manufacturers can take the time to obtain user feedback from seafarers, ensuring design that leverages intuitive interfaces and builds on knowledge of existing operations.

Taking action

We are already seeing multiple stakeholders - including regulators - moving towards data driven operations. The FuelEU Maritime regulation heightens the importance of fleetwide metrics. The rules introduce a pathway to compliance which offers a prime opportunity for learning and development while progressing towards environmental goals. Through pooling, shipowners can spread the emissions savings benefits of one vessel across a fleet. In practical terms, this allows shipowners to invest in the greenest vessels and alternative fuels for one ship and reap the compliance benefits across others.

Perhaps most importantly, the FuelEU Maritime regulation helps combat the wait and see approach. By spurring investment, pooling will create opportunities for shipowners, seafarers and other stakeholders to familiarise themselves with new equipment and ways of working. The regulatory incentive will also allow new or retrofitted vessels to serve as testbeds and proving grounds for new technologies, a place where companies can fully gain an understanding of their new assets, learn through experience, and expose crews to those technologies that may spread across the fleet over time.

Delivering change

Achieving net-zero requires that our mindset, approach and investments keep us on track to reach these goals. There are reputational and commercial benefits to be harvested along the way from exploring new avenues for decarbonisation and refining the technologies already in use.

To an outsider, a deadline that is more than a decade away for such a critical topic may seem irresponsible, but for us in the maritime sector, we know that this is a goal already actively pursued and not put off until the last moment. However, there is a certain hesitation in the market on what technology and solutions to select and invest in – and not at least when. Our clear recommendation is not to delay investing in and implementing solutions — these offer value, now and in the future, regardless of which solution ends up being the true disruptor.

 Ina Reksten is CEO of Manta Marine Technologies.