Technology innovations and market -based rules essential for healthy maritime industry
As a key enabler of LNG powered cruise ships, scrubber technologies or ballast water management systems, the European maritime technology sector has contributed significantly to the environmental agenda of international or European decision-makers. However, in the coming years and decades, the environmental performance of shipping as well as ocean-based activities will have to be further improved and the European maritime technology sector is ready to do its part of the job. However, to be successful, it is imperative that also the shipping industry steps up its efforts and responds in an ambitious manner to the societal and political pressures for greening ship operations, even in economically challenging times.
These were the main messages from SEA Europe at this year’s, well-attended OECD WP6 Workshop in Paris. The Workshop was held during the first OECD Ocean Economy Week (20-24 November 2017), which included also the 2017 OECD Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum as well as a symposium on oceans in national income accounts.
Addressing a wide international audience of government and maritime industry representatives, SEA Europe’s Secretary General Christophe Tytgat stressed that technological innovation, through continuous investment in RDI, and timely implementation of rules are crucial elements to move forward with sustainable shipping.
“Both technological innovations and regulatory outlook will determine the outlook of shipping. RDI investments will be crucial for new sustainable solutions, while regulations will be needed as well to force the sector to move forward. It is important to remind, however, that once legislation has been adopted, there is a need for the shipping industry to adapt to it as well as to put it in reality”, said Mr Tytgat alluding to the BWMC implementation delay.
Outlining the driving forces and barriers towards greening of shipping, SEA Europe highlighted the importance of ensuring that first movers are rewarded, and that a strict enforcement is in place.
Moving forward on greener shipping also requires the need to rethink existing practices, said SEA Europe during the Workshop. “Today, the date of contract determines which law will apply but this is a problem. By way of example many keels were laid before end 2015 with a view to avoiding the impact of IMO NOx Tier III rules, while to date most ships are not yet constructed. The date of delivery of the ship should be instead the criterion to apply legislation” stressed Mr. Tytgat.
Global trade rules removing distortions in the shipbuilding market can also play a crucial role in fostering a healthier, quality and sustainable maritime business. Currently shipping and shipbuilding are experiencing a particularly long downward cycle phase. Increased price pressure resulting from existing overcapacities and the poor earning situation of shipping companies make investments in qualitative performance improvements of maritime operations a difficult business case in the current difficult context.
SEA Europe greatly supports in this respect the renewed efforts within the OECD WP6 to relaunch the negotiations for a global agreement aimed at removing in an effective and tangible manner the barriers to normal competitive conditions in the shipbuilding market. “Achieving a health and balanced market by tackling the sources of the current overcapacity and cost-pressure challenges through internationally agreed rules is and should be a shared interest of the global shipping and shipbuilding community, and this is a goal that can no longer be procrastinated” Mr. Tytgat concluded.
Background Note: SEA Europe represents close to 100% of the European shipbuilding industry in 16 nations, encompassing the production, maintenance, repair and conversion of all types of ships and floating structures, commercial as well as naval, including the full supply chain with the various producers of maritime systems, equipment material, and services.
For further information please visit www.seaeurope.eu or contact:
Christophe Tytgat, Secretary General
Tel: +32 (0)126.96.36.199