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Decarbonisation to drive change

Lloyd’s Register chief executive Nick Brown calls for stricter deadlines that mandate an end to ordering ships that run solely on conventional fuels

From transporting clean energy to supporting skills in handling future fuels, the maritime industry will underpin the global energy transition

THERE is no question that maritime plays a pivotal role in supporting the world’s decarbonisation efforts — both in reducing its own emissions and in transporting future energy sources on which the world will rely.

Clean energy, whether a hydrogen-based fuel such as ammonia, or other future fuels, will be produced and consumed in different locations. Without shipping to transport clean energy around the world, countries will not be able to meet their decarbonisation ambitions.

Simply put, we need shipping to transport large volumes of clean energy. In that respect, it is no different to moving hydrocarbons around the world today — even though in the years to come, the power behind those ships will be very different, as will trading patterns.

Far too often, the focus is on future solutions — but at no time can we ignore our own 3% contribution to global greenhouse emissions. These will only rise over time with the increase in maritime trade and as other sectors cut their CO2 emissions.

All these factors mean our industry has a great opportunity to lead on change. We can do this by implementing stronger deadlines that mandate an end to ordering ships that can only run on conventional fuels.

If we are not prepared to commit to this, there will be little incentive for fuel producers and shipowners to develop technology and infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Instead, we will see stakeholders opt for easier and more cost-effective options.

Our progress towards a decarbonised maritime sector by 2050 will be underpinned by new technologies and crew will be on the front line of change.

A recent report commissioned by the Maritime Just Transition Task Force Secretariat predicts a significant rise in the number of seafarers needing training on alternative fuel technologies in the 2040s — between 310,000 and 750,000 crew.

However, training alone does not equate to competence. For example, there are just over 700 liquefied natural gas-capable ships in the global fleet, but few of them are regularly using LNG. As a consequence, many of those trained on LNG have become less familiar with the requirements of onboard equipment and bunkering procedures.

It is therefore very important to ensure that when our people — both on shore and at sea — are trained and upskilled, they can maintain competency in managing the future fuels and technologies they encounter.

Collectively, we face some significant challenges in the years ahead and our ability to work together will be imperative for safety at sea and on shore. The critical role of cross-sector collaborations, such as Together in Safety, are therefore vital for embedding safety today ahead of a rapid transition tomorrow.

This article is part of Lloyd’s List’s Special Report on Decarbonisation which can be viewed here

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