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Editorial: Shipping Must Not Work in Silos

Chennai, 14 Sept 2022:

The shipping industry must co-operate with other sectors to influence decisions that will fundamentally affect shipping, according to ICS. In his keynote address at the opening of SMM 2022, ICS Secretary General Guy Platten said that shipping uses around 4% of global oil production and will need to look outside of itself during the transition to zero carbon.

The SMM in Hamburg is the world-leading fair on the maritime economy. It takes place every two years in Hamburg, because due to the long maritime tradition as a dynamic commercial center Hamburg offers the ideal location for the SMM. It is the trade fair for shipbuilding, machinery and marine technology with the largest international character.

Visitors and exhibitors from all over the world represent the current state of the maritime industry worldwide and can here present their latest technologies or receive information about the latest products, innovations, trends and services. No other show has such a wide range of international exhibitors and visitors and so determines the success of the industry.

However, the SMM is more than just a trade show. With a comprehensive program consisting of conferences, symposia and workshops held by internationally recognized speakers on important global issues, it forms the perfect setting for the entire maritime industry.

“As we move forward, we are going to need to focus on the remaining 96%, as these will be the same type of fuels that we are looking to use… when we look at all these new systems on display, we must not miss the 96% by just focusing on the 4%,” said Platten. Supplying shipping with renewable fuels would take around 100% of current global renewable energy capacity, and providing zero carbon fuels for the world will take an 18-fold increase in renewable energy, said Platten, a huge undertaking.

“As we consider the current issues with constraints to supply and rising prices. We can no longer remain on the sidelines as a world takes decisions that will have a fundamental impact on our industry.”

Platten repeated warnings on the availability of seafarers and on the need to train crews to use the types of new technology on display at SMM and handle future fuels both to power vessels and as cargo.

“Here we have a challenge on our hands. We are currently facing a shortage of seafarers, and given the growing demand for STCW officers, we will need an additional 90,000 officers by 2026 to operate the world’s merchant fleet. And this is calculated before we take into effect the fact that 14% of our workforce is made up of Ukrainian and Russian seafarers.”

The war in Ukraine has complicated crewing calculations, but Platten did note one recent improvement. “We welcomed the announcement last week that Ukrainian seafarers can now apply to be made exempt from the travel ban. All men aged between 18 and 60 will now be able to apply to leave the country to work under contract on vessels speeding up the pace at which we can transport grain back to the Ukrainian ports to where it is needed most,” said Platten.

The secretary general’s three takeaways from his speech were: “Firstly, we must not underestimate the importance of people in any new technological developments. Our seafarers will be the ones using new technology, we must make sure that they are trained appropriately. “Second, shipping is not on its own. We must not work in silos. We must instead look beyond our industry for opportunities to achieve our decarbonisation goals.

“And thirdly, remember that the supply chain is interconnected. What happens in one part of the world can cause the length and another understanding this means we can be better equipped for when things don’t go to plan,” said Platten.

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