Mapping the Future

By Jack O'Connell 2014-06-04 10:34:00

Photo (L to R): MarEx's Senior Editor Jack O'Connell with Tore Longva, Principal Consultant, International Regulatory Affairs at DNV GL

Leading class society DNV GL has come out with two new reports that focus on “The Future of Shipping” and “The Arctic – The Next Risk Frontier.” Commemorating the company’s 150th anniversary (well, DNV’s 150th; GL was founded a few years later), the reports are both timely and informative.

To help spread the word, the company recently held regional meetings in three key U.S. maritime centers – Stamford, Houston and Fort Lauderdale. MarEx was pleased to attend the Fort Lauderdale presentation and share the results with its readers.

The presenters were Tore Longva, Principal Consultant, International Regulatory Affairs, and Peter Hoffmann, Head of Safety, Risk & Reliability. Longva spoke on “The Future of Shipping,” a report more than a year in the making and of which he was a lead author. Looking toward the year 2050, it sets three main goals:

Reduce maritime fatalities by 90 percent (from their current level of 900 per year)

Reduce CO2 emissions by 60 percent, and

Maintain or reduce freight cost levels (currently 7-11 percent of cargo value).

Maritime fatalities can be reduced by adopting a “new safety mindset.” This includes an emphasis on technology and systems – digitized designs, risk-based maintenance, and smart ships. The “autonomous ship” may not be that far away. Subsea operations are already remote.

“Carbon-neutral” shipping is the key to reducing CO2 emissions (don’t you just love all these catchy phrases – “carbon-neutral,” “smart ship,” “digitized design”?). How do you achieve “carbon-neutral” shipping? By using less energy and cleaner fuels. So LNG, renewables, electrification, biofuels, cold ironing and hybrid ships. What about nuclear? Well, that’s a question for another day.

New materials are also part of the equation, often inspired by nature. Materials with “shark skin properties,” meaning drag reduction of 10 percent and resistance to clinging by aquatic organisms (think barnacles and other hull-clinging nuisances), are an example.

As for reducing freight rates, they’re already pretty low and driving a number of shipowners to the brink of bankruptcy. Increased vessel size and the formation of pools and alliances are further reducing costs in an effort to keep owners solvent.

Here’s a link to where you can download the full report: http://futureshipping.dnvgl.com/#future-shipping

Hoffmann was the presenter for and a lead author of “The Arctic – The Next Risk Frontier.” He discussed cruise ships visiting Greenland and bulk ships transiting the Northern Sea Route and the difference in attitude among Alaskans and Norwegians regarding the risks involved. The risks are enormous, of course, as is the lack of practical knowledge. Undeterred, the report maps out the various risk factors and proposes innovations in ship design and features to meet, by 2030, the unique challenges posed by the Arctic. A whole section is devoted to the nightmare scenario of an oil spill.

Here is a link to the full report: http://www.dnvgl.com/Images/The%20Arctic%20FINAL%20lowres.pdf

So do yourself a favor and set aside a little time for these timely and informative publications. – MarEx  

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.