Green propulsion, autonomous ships, digitalisation, and VR technologies – are just some of the topics covered in the Invest in Pomerania team’s latest report, which juxtaposes current technological trends with the state of the local maritime sector.
Like most sectors of the economy today, the maritime sector is also heavily influenced by global trends centred around green technologies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and advanced data processing solutions to improve shipping and other maritime operations. These trends naturally set the stage for the local industry.
Towards green shipping and clean energy
Low-carbon technologies have been implemented in the Tricity shipyards for years. It is enough to mention the series of LNG-powered ferries produced by Remontowa Shipbuilding or the hybrid ferries produced by Crist. Alternative fuels are to be the next step – currently, only 5.5 per cent of the total gross tonnage of floating vessels operate, or will be able to operate, using them. This compares with 33 per cent of the total gross tonnage of vessels currently in the procurement process. It is difficult to determine clearly which alternative fuels will dominate the market – today hydrogen is becoming increasingly important, and there is much talk of methanol and ammonia.
According to the Report, Europe is the leader in the production of units with an electric powertrain. In 2019, it accounted for 34.9 per cent of global realisations. Conversions involving propulsion conversions or the installation of e.g. desulphurisation systems are also important – here Remontowa Shiprepair Yard leads the way, ranking ninth in the world in 2019 for the number of class ship repairs carried out. Every year, Remontowa repairs or modernises, to varying degrees, a total of around 200 vessels, among which are the largest vessels that can enter the Baltic.
It is also important to remember that the growing offshore wind sector will have a strong impact on the order portfolios of design offices and shipbuilders. According to the report, it is forecast that in 2050 there could be as much as 660 GW of offshore wind power installed worldwide. Today, only 55 GW is installed. Such strong growth will require the expansion of supply chains, both in terms of new capacity and diversification of orders into new technology directions.
Autonomous ships, smart ports
According to the Report, globally the market for autonomous ships is estimated to be worth more than $85 billion (for 2020). The outlook is for up to $165 billion in value for this market by 2030. Similarly, data consumption is growing, with the average daily consumption of a vessel increasing by almost 35% from 3.4 GB in 2020 to 9.8 GB in 2021. Analysis of data related to current weather conditions will contribute significantly to reduced emissions, lower fuel burn or improved safety.
On another note, digitalisation in seaports translates into the creation of smart seaports, representing the fourth generation of their development. We can speak, for example, of the use of blockchain technology in the process of data annotation, which enables the optimisation of cargo storage processes, and the precise location of a container in the transport process, thus reducing operational costs for operators. On the other hand, ports are starting to use the concept of digital twins to optimise operations. The monitoring of the digitised object will contribute significantly to predicting and catching human errors, which must translate into increased operational efficiency for ports.
Pomerania in a changing world
– We live in very dynamic times, both geopolitically and technologically. But let’s remember that these challenges represent a unique opportunity to further develop the local maritime sector in many directions – we are talking about port operations, supply chain management, design, shipbuilding and offshore structures, R&D activities, certification, IT solutions. We have great opportunities and competencies to follow the latest trends, and the latest Invest in Pomerania report confirms it – comments Mieczysław Struk, Marshal of the Pomeranian County.
– This is the third Invest in Pomerania report in the Focus On series, where we focus on various industrial sectors in terms of global issues affecting the condition of these sectors in Pomerania. The reports are created in cooperation with companies operating in Pomerania, which allows us to shape the themes and further conclusions according to how the business community perceives the current situation. This time we had as many as 18 partners, which basically corresponds to the very wide range of topics we have covered in the report,” says Monika Wójcik, Senior Project Manager at Invest in Pomerania, coordinator of the work on the Report.