Last Friday marked the end of an important event for the shipping and shipbuilding industry – the Nor-Shipping trade fair and conference. What was discussed this year in Oslo? Some of the issues discussed at Nor-Shipping 2019 are mentioned in the Invest in Pomerania report.
Business is like evolution. It’s not he strongest who survives, but the one who finely adopts to the changing environment.
Once every two years the Nor-Shipping trade fair and conference held near the capital of Norway attracts even more than 35 thousand specialists representing all sectors of the maritime industry – shipowners, shipyards, suppliers of services and products. This year, one of the key issues discussed at Nor-Shipping was environmental protection.
90 percent of world trade is by sea.
Every year, more than 90,000 ships crossing the oceans burn about 2 billion barrels of the most dirty oil. According to the Financial Times, it is estimated that the 200 largest ships produce as much sulphur as all the cars in the world combined.
To address the side-effects of shipping, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has recently, after years of campaigning, introduced new requirements to reduce the sulphur content of fuels from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. It is estimated that in the next 5 years the world economy will need to allocate USD 1 trillion to meet IMO targets. No wonder, then, that Nor-Shipping talks focused on environmental issues and new technologies.
The 2018 Nobel Prize winner for Economics, Paul Romer, stressed that only regulations introduced by states and international organizations can force the industry to change. He compared this with campaigns to publicise the problem of the ozone hole in the 1980s. Despite strong opposition from various industries, the regulations were eventually introduced – and the situation improved. And most importantly, it was not a shock to the economy. The same will apply to the new IMO requirements.
On the other hand, Ramez Naam, an American technologist previously working for Microsoft on products such as Outlook, Explorer and Bing, provided an inspiring insight into the possibilities of implementing new technologies in the coming years at a conference. Naam talked about the democratisation of technology and how this could affect some sectors of the shipping industry.
As the price of RES energy production falls sharply and the price of coal energy is rising, 25% of the world’s bulk cargo (which includes coal transport) may be at risk. Oil is in second place. The pace of introduction of electric cars into the passenger transport market, and soon also logistics, will seriously harm oil carriers. As Naam said, the industry must move to neighbouring possible areas of activity, such as offshore, fishing and aquaculture.
The conference also discussed specific new technological opportunities and risks, such as battery problems for electric and hybrid vessels (too low capacity, problematic integration with old vessel types), advanced software for autonomous vessels, and the use of holograms in training.
Nor-Shipping 2019 shows – according to some – that the maritime industry is still too conservative and not fully ready for change. However, some of its key stakeholders see the enormous benefits that these changes can bring. And as Ramez Naam pointed out, business is also subject to the laws of evolution. Not the