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[Event Wrap-Up] Today's Vision & Tomorrow's Reality in the Maritime Industry

By MarEx 2014-02-07 15:27:00

At the Hellenic-/Norwegian-American Chambers of Commerce 20th Annual Joint Shipping Conference, an impressive group of industry leaders shared their visions of where the maritime sector is today and where our opportunities are moving forward. The overall message was grasping the importance of strategy adjustments to meet the demands of a constantly changing global economy.

The Big Picture: Macro Shipping and Economic Overview

Presented by Themistoklis Fiotakis – Senior Global Markets Economist, Goldman Sachs and Company

Shipping 2020

Tor Svensen, CEO Maritime at DNV GL gave us an insightful view into the future of shipping. Svensen pointed out that it is necessary to make technological investments in this new market reality.

In a study aiming to indicate which technologies are most likely to be adopted by the industry by 2020, Svensen presented three main trends: fuel, regulatory/stakeholder pressure, and economic growth/demand.

“The regulatory future is demanding – with sulfur emissions, the ballast water convention, and so much more.” – Svensen

Svensen also identified motivations and barriers for shipowners who contemplate the cost benefit of things like the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) or switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Some motivating factors are compliance and fuel efficiency. Some barriers are the cost of implementation and maintenance, and the fear of technological maturity. Do you agree?

Facts for the future:

1 in 10 newbuilds will be delivered with gas-fuelled engines in the next 8 years

Scrubbers will only be a significant option after 2020

In 2020, there will be a huge increase in demand for marine distillates, as high as 200-250 million tons per year

Newbuilds in 2020 will emit up to 35% less carbon dioxide, with the EEDI being the driver for over half of this reduction

Beyond 2020, we will be considering more alternative fuels in shipping – including ethanol, hydrogen, nuclear power, and wind power; as well as ship electrification (batteries)

To watch Mr. Svensen’s full presentation, click here.

Panel: Balancing Safety, Regulatory Compliance and the Costs

Panelist Carleen Lyden-Kluss, Co-Founder/Executive Director at NAMEPA touched on the maritime industry’s negative public perception, as well as our lack of “showing up” as a whole.

Watch the full panel below and let us know your thoughts:

Panel: Generational Shipping Families

In one of my favorite discussions, three father-son teams tackled the challenges and benefits facing generational shipping families.

Peter and Jason Klopfer (P.M. Klopfer Shipbrokers, and Navig8 respectively), Philip and Josh Shapiro (Liberty Maritime), and Robert and George Pierot (Jacq. Peirot Jr. & Sons, and CIT respectively) all shared slightly similar stories on getting into the business, and feeling joy and pride on working together as families.

However, the sons did identify the challenges of the generational gap. Today, the younger generations deal with rapid technological changes – from ship design to fuel consumption – and feels that this impacts day-to-day trading as well as the flow of information. Additionally, in this day and age, the fathers commended their sons on their abilities to handle the increase and frequency of change in regulatory compliances – something they did not have to worry about as much.

When asked if they would like their children to join in the family business, each son said yes.

Panel: Where is the Money?

“The current banking crisis may lead to a positive and permanent change in shipping finance.”

Panel: The Commercial Impacts of Decisions – Trade Routes, Chartering and Futures

During this panel, moderator Clay Maitland posed the question “Do you see the U.S.-flag fleet carrying LPG and LNG?” Watch the full discussion below to hear the answers.

Another predominant theme in this panel was the Arctic. As we know, the Arctic suffered a dramatic ice melt over recent years – 50% in area and 75% in volume. In terms of commodity and export trading, this could be an ‘Arctic boom’. This topic is also “compelling” in terms of oil and gas exploration.

Also mentioned was the need for the U.S. to join the Law of the Sea Convention. Do you agree?

Panel: Current Outlook; Sources of Dry Bulk Demand and Supply

For most, the dry bulk sector is generally the most difficult to predict. However, on this 4-person expert panel, all of them stated that the general direction of the sector is up indefinitely – with some volatility, of course.

They also discussed the price of steel, and China as principle drivers of the sector.