The concerns of the shipping industry are coming more and more into harmony. Good economics and good environmental practices no longer conflict with one another – combining the two of them gives a competitive advantage. The contribution that technology can make to environmentally sustainable shipping is a major subject at the global maritime environmental congress gmec, to be held at the Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) on 7 and 8 September 2010.

Shipping is already among the most environment friendly means of transport, and shipowners, shipping companies and shipyards are working hard to achieve further improvements in technology to reduce CO2 and NOx, bilge water and noise emissions. After all, shipping still is responsible for 3% of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases. How can technological innovations help to deal with these problems? What opportunities are there in green technologies? What ecological challenges does industry have to face? These questions will be addressed by leading industry experts in Panel 3 “Environmentally sustainable shipping – opportunities from technological innovation” at gmec 2010. They will give an overview of the various technological capabilities, from the current state of the art to visions for 2030.

“Zero pollution of the environment”

Panel 3 will be chaired by Spyros Polemis, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The maritime industry’s vision of “Zero pollution of the environment” is also intended as an incentive for technical innovation. Spyros Polemis sees one of the best opportunities for reduction of carbon emissions in new building of green ships. “Regarding the fact that ships have a life cycle of 25 years, we need new ideas for long-term reduction of the carbon footprint of shipping.”

Figures from the German Shipbuilding and Ocean Industries Association (VSM) reflect the potentials of the newbuilding business – in 2009 alone, some 1,300 ships of the world merchant fleet were scrapped. Although the newbuilding projects of the shipping lines were significantly cut back in the global economic crisis, order books still showed more than 9,000 ships in the same period, and more than 3,400 newbuilds were launched in 2009.

“gmec 2010 is the first opportunity to exchange experience and best practice examples with leading industry representatives in a broad framework, and to raise awareness for current and future environmental improvements,” said Polemis, outlining the scope of the maritime environmental congress. Raising awareness is also one of the aims pursued by Tor Svensen, Chief Operating Officer of the classification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV). As a speaker at Panel 3 of gmec 2010, he will stress the impact of ballast water on the marine eco-system. Although the impact of air emissions from shipping is more in the focus of public discussion, Tor Svensen believes that ballast water should get similar attention. He will address issues such as the development of zero-ballast ships and possibilities of ballast water cleaning on board.

Shipping of the future

In keeping with the subject of “Environmentally sustainable shipping”, the speakers in Panel 3 will  give particular attention to the long-term character of technological innovations and solutions.Alongside the current potentials for reduction of CO2 emissions, Tor Svensen will also present a vision for 2030 – travelling through time into the technological future of shipping, which will be much cleaner then.

New techniques already in use will be explained by Masahiro Samitsu, Corporate Officer and General Manager of the Environment Group of the Japanese shipping company NYK Line. It is one of the largest shipping companies in the world, with some 800 container and RORO ships and bulkers. He will present various technical innovations by the Japanese company at gmec 2010. For example, the NYK Line launched the first two ships with an air lubrication system in April this year. The air is injected between the ship’s hull and the water to reduce friction, and this is claimed to reduce energy consumption by 10%. Masahiro Samitsu gives a visionary view of environmentally sustainable innovations of the future at gmec 2010, presenting the “NYK Super Eco Ship 2030”. This ambitious project envisages a reduction of up to 69% of CO2 emissions. 2% of this is achieved by photovoltaic energy, 4% by wind energy, and 32% by fuel cells.

Panel 3 also includes Clay Maitland, Founder and Chairman of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) in New York City and Jamie Sweeting, Vice President Environmental Stewardship of the US/Norwegian cruise line Royal Caribbean International. Both of them will address the requirements for environmentally sustainable technologies in shipping from the viewpoint of environmental organisations and the cruise industry and explain why risk management and the interests of shareholders are in line with the interests of environmental protection.

gmec 2010 – the first global maritime environmental congress

The global maritime environmental congress (gmec) is the first inter-industry, international conference on “maritime environmental protection” on top executive level. The first global maritime environmental congress will be held in Hamburg on 7 and 8 September 2010, on the occasion of SMM, the world’s leading shipbuilding trade fair (7 to 10 September). gmec provides a platform for representatives of IMO (International Maritime Organization), the European Commission, governments, port industries, shipping and the shipbuilding industry to analyse the status quo of maritime environmental protection and discuss targets, which may determine the course for the environmental future of the global maritime industry. The congress, like the trade fair SMM itself, will be held under patronage of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and will in future take place every two years in Hamburg.