FEATURES

The future of shipping: cool and sustainable

Oscar Wezenbeek, Managing Director Marine Coatings

Sustainable Shipping is not only good for the environment, it is also good for business.  What gives a competitive edge now will become the standard going forward – imagine a shipping industry that just is sustainable.

The shipping industry is currently experiencing exciting and long-overdue tectonic shifts that will change it forever. AkzoNobel is one of the companies to help revolutionize this global industry.

As changes are taking hold across the industry, and the momentum to do things differently is growing and creating endless opportunities to innovate, create and transform.

While shipping has been the most efficient form of transportation for centuries, it still emits 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 annually, or about 2.5% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions.  At AkzoNobel, we have been actively promoting sustainability in the marine industry as part of our commitment to do more with less.

Futuristic transformation

For decades, our team of chemical engineers, material scientists, biologists, hydrodynamic experts, physicists and –nowadays – digital innovation specialists have been developing innovative technologies that, once again, are set to transform the shipping industry. We leave no stone unturned. Working on projects like biomimicry, drone technology, intelligent sensors and digital innovation, we now have the ability to care for vessels at agreed performance levels with our advanced coatings and technology.

In fact, robotic technology is going to play a major role in the future of sustainable shipping. In 2016, we successfully conducted a fully robotized spot-repair, including washing, spot-blasting, and coating application, on a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC). We are currently developing drones for the inspection of enclosed areas like cargo tanks and hulls where the risk of injury to people is high. And Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are being engineered for sustainable underwater cleaning.

We’ve already used Big Data to create a digital consultancy tool called Intertrac Vision, the first ever digital tool for the shipping industry that can accurately predict the potential fuel and CO2 emission savings. And this is just the beginning; there is much more to come.

The marine industry is starting a new chapter in terms of the way ships are designed, built, operated and maintained.  Autonomous vessel operation, digital connections through global satellites and new powering solutions will lead to a whole new generation of naval architects and we will witness much more collaborative partnerships across the value chain.

Sustainability for the future

Sustainability is a key driver to develop these exciting technologies and it is the only way forward in shipping. With that belief as our compass, we’ve developed a number of initiatives to limit environmental impact and increase the sustainability of products across the entire industry.

We know there will be increasing restrictions on use of certain materials. That’s why we have invested in the development of biocide-free antifouling coating technologies. Future bio-composites and bio-derived adhesives can be made from natural and sustainable resources.

Reducing the environmental impact of shipping and increasing the share of sustainable products is not just our responsibility. We work closely with other key industry players like our recent agreement with Maersk, in which we are creating transparency on sustainable best practices in the supply chain and reducing carbon emissions. We have also partnered with the Volvo Ocean Race to develop programs that will drive sustainability.

Maersk Line partners with AkzoNobel to drive sustainability

Turning the future into reality

Already today AkzoNobel supports ship owners and operators in tracking the performance of the hull of the vessel in compliance with the ISO 19030 standard. In addition, we forecast and track carbon emissions fuel savings which in turn create carbon credits. Increasing transparency, embracing new technologies and reducing “waste” are immediate wins.

Ship owners can maximize on the benefits by working in partnerships with key-suppliers. It starts with a new mindset. As an industry, we need to come together and embrace new technology developments, new business models and new innovations. 

Sustainable Shipping is not only good for the environment, it is also good for business.  What gives a competitive edge now will become the standard going forward – imagine a shipping industry that just is sustainable.