Shipping is still the most energy effective way of transporting goods, but a huge contributor to CO2 in the atmosphere due to the volume. Trade depends on a complex web of factors, whereof political instability, natural disasters and availability of raw materials are some. Contributing to global sustainability is vital for the stability and future of the business. Shipping has a history of not being too focused on environmental impact and is therefore lacking behind many other 'competitors'. Remaining a leader within transportation will, besides the financial aspect, need to be sustainable.
2. What can shipping companies do to reduce carbon footprint in line with regulations?
Look at the total lifecycle both environmentally and financially. The footprint is at this stage considerable so there is room for lots of improvements within different emission types and during all stages (construction, operation, recycling).
Utilize materials with small CO2 footprints during building, install machinery and equipment with low emissions and good flexibility, maintain for maximizing lifetime and recycle the ships responsibly. Adapt to the new fuels, but even better adapt to renewable energies onboard and or in ports, utilize currents and winds when possible, energy storage. The list is very long.
3. What are the benefits of being sustainable for shipping owners & operators?
Short term compliance and reputation. Long term survival. Competitive advantage.
4. What are risks or pitfalls to avoid in developing more sustainable solutions?
Should avoid merely moving the problem, i.e. becoming more sustainable in your operations but by using solutions that are not sustainable in another part of the value chain, decreasing the total sustainability of the value chain.
5. Name two or three obstacles for achieving sustainability in shipping (e.g. Standards? Culture? Uncertainty in regulations?) and describe why they matter?
Costs of investments and potential operating risk, uncertainties in technology choices (because not sufficiently tried and tested, get in a situation where one is too dependent on suppliers, technology may become obsolete very fast i.e. may not live up to next generation of technology or next revision of regulations etc). Inadequate regulations (like ballast water) might open for non-sustainable solutions only in order to comply. Thinking too much on a short-term perspective is a big obstacle and can reduce the long-term sustainability.
6. How can technology be leveraged to support sustainability?
Financial incentives for ship owners to try new technologies. Financial incentives for Technology companies to develop new solutions that work.
7. What's the one thing that you'd want our readers to take away from this roundtable?
Sustainability matters and is profitable to all on the long-term perspective.