As the world faces unprecedented challenges from climate change, technological disruption and social inequality, the shipping industry must adapt to remain relevant for generations to come. Decarbonization, digitization and diversity, the “3Ds” of shipping, are not just buzzwords.
They represent critical priorities for the industry as it navigates a rapidly changing world. What is the role of these three elements for the industry to ensure sustainability?
Maritime transport contributes around 2.5% of global emissions. As the world seeks to limit global warming to below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C under the Paris Agreement, the shipping industry has a critical role to play in reducing the emissions.
Among others, decarbonization efforts include improving energy efficiency, adopting low-carbon fuels like hydrogen and ammonia, and exploring alternative technologies like wind, solar, and nuclear power.
Decarbonization in maritime transport: three latest advances
· Costa Group, part of Carnival Corporation, and methanol producer, Proman, have teamed up to further drive the deployment of methanol as a marine fuel for the cruise industry.
Earlier this month, IMO announced the new Future Fuels and Technology Project, with the aim of providing an assessment of the state of readiness and readiness of low- and zero-carbon marine fuels and ship technology, to help inform Member States as they work towards the revision of the IMO GHG Strategy.
· The green transition of global shipping could create new jobs and skills for hundreds of thousands of seafarers around the world, the World Economic Forum said recently. This means that coordinated policy making will be key to matching supply and demand and for countries to take advantage of green job opportunities.
“Environmental challenges are not limited to decarbonization. We must not forget that. We must also remember that security will remain high on the agenda and cannot be compromised.” said Stefan Bülow, Chairman of BIMCO’s Marine Environment Committee, in early 2023.
Digitization is transforming the shipping industry by enabling greater efficiency, transparency and sustainability. Digital technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things can improve ship tracking and navigation, optimize cargo handling and logistics, and improve security.
These technologies can also reduce the environmental impact of shipping by enabling more efficient use of resources and reducing emissions. For example, digital technologies can be used to improve energy efficiency by optimizing ship speeds, reducing fuel consumption and consequently emissions.
By leveraging digital technology, shipping companies can adapt to changing market conditions and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving industry.
3 examples of digitization in maritime transport
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): In shipping, EDI enables the seamless exchange of important documents such as bills of lading, invoices, and customs declarations. This streamlines the shipping process by reducing the need to transport physical documents and helps prevent errors that can arise from manual data entry. As such, EDI can reduce paperwork, save time, and improve accuracy in the shipping process. Earlier this month, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) announced that its nine member ocean carriers, including MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and others, are committing to 100% adoption of an electronic Bill of Lading (eBL). ) by 2030.
Internet of Things (IoT) devices – In shipping, IoT devices can be used to monitor cargo conditions, such as temperature or humidity, and can also track the location of the cargo in real-time. This information can be used to optimize shipping routes, prevent cargo damage, and provide customers with real-time updates on the status of their shipments. In this way, IoT devices can help shipping companies reduce costs and provide better services.
Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions securely and transparently. In shipping, the blockchain can be used to create a tamper-proof record of every step of the shipping process, from the origin of the cargo to its final destination. This can increase confidence in the shipping process by preventing fraud. Therefore, Blockchain is important because it can provide security, reduce the risk of errors, and provide a more reliable way to track shipments.
Diversity discussions began a long time ago in shipping. A diverse team brings together people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. In a work setting, this can lead to increased creativity and problem-solving, as team members can offer unique insights based on their diverse experiences. That is why assigning more women, both on board and in leadership positions ashore, is considered essential to improve efficiency.
As awareness of the importance of gender diversity in business increases, diversity is also seen as a key pillar of an organization’s reputation and legitimacy. A diverse workforce demonstrates a commitment to equal opportunity and fair employment practices. This can attract a broader pool of talent and help retain employees.
Diversity in shipping: 3 latest developments
· By the end of 2022, more than 100 women leaders had registered as speakers on the new Maritime Speakers Bureau platform. The platform was created by IMO and WISTA International last October, as part of their efforts to promote greater diversity and inclusion in shipping.
· A recent ETF and ECSA report recommended that shipping should agree on a target of a minimum percentage of women in maritime management positions within 20 years. Once baseline data is collected, the submission will need to establish percentages for interval years beginning in 2026.
Maritime UK has received £100,000 in grants to run a Maritime Roadshow for Girls throughout 2023. The roadshow will aim to encourage Key Stage 3 girls to choose STEM subjects and give students greater awareness of the opportunities professionals in the maritime industry.