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Speaking at Hill Dickinson’s ‘Life Cyle of a Ship’ webinar yesterday (13 September), futurist K.D. Adamson pointed out that decarbonisation is just one – albeit very important – part of shipping’s ESG challenge, as the industry must take a much greater collaborative and holistic approach to addressing its environmental and societal impacts.

Adamson argued that we have reached a ‘liminality’, or threshold, where a ‘fundamental recalibration of value’ is needed to reset global systems that are becoming unsustainable. Shipping, she added, which is at the ‘nexus of the green, blue and circular economies’, can play a key role in this transition.

The seminar – which was held as part of the London International Shipping Week (LISW) – then cut to a series of presentations of Hill Dickinson partners who looked at how ESG is affecting the maritime landscape.

Diana Syziu looked at the development of the Poseidon Principles and urged shipping companies to ‘climb aboard’ the green bandwagon before it is too late.

Jasel Chauhan reported that ESG was ‘becoming a part of daily business’ for the Greek shipping industry, with shipowners, shipyards, charterers and bunker suppliers all having a role to play. Bunker suppliers, said Chauhan, can play their part by helping to spread the provision of the new ‘green’ fuels to more locations.

Colin Lavelle pointed out that ports have a particular interest in combating climate change, as they are at risk from rising sea levels and increased flooding. And, Lavelle continued, ports are also working to be part of the solution, as they have been working on initiatives to reduce their impact by cutting back on reducing wastage and water usage and ramping up the availability of shore power. Furthermore, more of the electricity that the ships will drawing upon when in port will be sourced from renewable energies, with wind and solar power coming to the fore.

Shanna Ghose praised the initiatives underway at the port of Singapore to offer more financial incentives for shipping companies to switch over to lower-emission fuels and make use of more efficient technologies. Ghose also flagged up the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) work to foster LNG bunkering in the Lion City, as well as working with other ports to build a global network of LNG bunkering hubs.

Rachel Hoyland found that growing stakeholder demand and tightening regulations will continue drive forward maritime decarbonisation. She also emphasised the need to take a full life cycle view of a ship’s environmental impact.

Trudie Protopapas made the same point, and stressed the ‘need to implement green ship design from the very outset’. This may entail higher initial costs, she conceded, but ‘if done properly’ there will savings further down the line, both in financial and reputational terms. There is a growing onus on owners, added Protopapas to take greater responsibility for the full life cycle – which must include recycling.

Sarah Barnes and Iain Teare considered the seafarer wellbeing aspects of the maritime ESG – and Teare pointed out that fatigue or demotivation (besides being bad for the seafarers themselves) can have environmental impacts as human error can lead to accidents and bunker spills.

Antony Cowie looked at how shipping’s efforts to switch over to new fuels and make greater use of electrification are coming together in Hong Kong, where the harbour ferry fleet will be moving from diesel to diesel/electric hybrid and ultimately fully electric. Meanwhile, an LNG terminal is being built on one of the outlying islands which will not only support the conversion of Hong Kong power stations from coal to LNG, but also help with plans to provide LNG bunkering.

The London International Shipping Week (LISW) is running throughtout this week, with both in-person and virtual events. The Headline conference, which this year takes 'Driving growth and recovery in a disrupted world' as its theme, takes place tomorrow (15 September).

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