Shark Seating

Innovating Safety: Exploring Shark Seating’s Maritime Solutions

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of maritime safety with Shark Seating, a pioneering company revolutionising marine seating solutions. Led by a commitment to ergonomic design and sustainability, Shark Seating has carved a niche in the industry with its innovative approach to marine seating. From high-speed naval craft to tour boats, Shark Seating’s products are designed to enhance safety, comfort, and performance for both operators and passengers alike.

 

Join us as we explore the strategic vision, sustainability initiatives, and future outlook of Shark Seating with Owner, Paul Zwaan, shedding light on how the company continues to make waves in the maritime sector.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Company Genesis and Mission: Shark Seating began with a focus on ergonomic design in the marine seating industry. Can you share the story behind the inception of Shark Seating and your mission in transforming the industry?

 

The formation of Shark Seating happened at a time when the NZ Navy faced delays and rising costs from inflexible suppliers dominating a small market. There was a need for agile and cooperative suppliers offering lighter, more adaptable products and services. This challenge appealed to me, having handled over 500 freelance projects with a focus on finding the most elegant solutions and implementing them with the most appropriate and scalable technology.

Design Philosophy: Your design consultancy started in 1996, leading to Shark Seating’s establishment. How has your background in ergonomic design influenced the development of Shark Seating’s products?

 

The core principles guiding our work are simplicity, modularity, and versatility. These principles enable us to tackle any ergonomic challenge. It’s a process where all the hard work rests on the designer rather than the user. We work tirelessly to ensure that our solutions are ever more simple, self-adjusting, and intuitive.

 

Achieving simplicity is like seeking the Holy Grail. Once found, everyone can recognise it but uncovering simplicity is a relentless process of ideation, screening, and refinement. In the words of Michelangelo, ‘The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.

Impact on High-Speed Naval Craft: Shark Seating has been recognised for its suspension seating solutions in high-speed naval boats. How do Shark Seating products enhance the safety and performance of these vessels?

 

Shark Seating’s suspension seating solutions have garnered recognition for their impact on high-speed naval boats. These products play a pivotal role in enhancing both the safety and performance of such vessels.

 

In the realm of high-speed craft, the ultimate goal is to achieve maximum performance with minimal inputs. This entails prioritising safety, comfort, and durability while minimising weight, complexity, and cost. At Shark Seating, we achieve this balance through our three design pillars.

 

Simplicity lies at the core of our approach, ensuring that each component is streamlined to its essential functionality without any unnecessary elements. Modularity further reinforces this principle by ensuring perfect compatibility among components, thereby maximising safety and comfort for occupants. Additionally, our products offer versatility, allowing various modules to be seamlessly combined to meet diverse ergonomic requirements.

 

Each of our modules is assigned a NATO stock code, enabling navies to configure suspension seats tailored to their specific needs. This bespoke approach not only ensures unprecedented impact protection but also enhances weight efficiency, crucial factors in the demanding environment of high-speed naval operations.

America’s Cup Contribution: Shark Seating’s involvement in the 36th America’s Cup significantly boosted the brand’s visibility. How did this event impact Shark Seating’s business, and what was it like seeing your products on all the chase boats?

 

Shark Seating’s participation in the 36th America’s Cup marked a significant milestone in enhancing the brand’s visibility and impact on the maritime industry. Reflecting on this event sheds light on its profound implications for our business and the exhilaration of witnessing our products on every chase boat. https://youtu.be/-94T9u5-UHU

 

Having followed the America’s Cup fervently since its arrival in our neighbourhood in 1987, I never imagined, thirty years later, that our seats would grace the decks of every chase boat and media vessel at the America’s Cup and SailGP events. It was a moment of pride to see our seats accommodating royalty, sailing legends, VIPs, and support crews—a total of 140 seats, a remarkable feat at the time, though now surpassed by our expanding customer base.

 

An unexpected benefit emerged five years later, during the 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand, providing an opportunity to assess the wear and tear on 100 seats. Additionally, during the event’s visit to Christchurch in 2023, we conducted the 5-year service on 40 SailGP seats, leading to an extension of our product warranty to three years.

 

Furthermore, the legacy of our involvement extended beyond the event itself, with a majority of New Zealand Coastguard boats now equipped with Shark Suspension Seats, having adopted 26 retired America’s Cup RHIBs. This integration underscores the enduring impact of our participation in the America’s Cup, solidifying our commitment to innovation and safety in maritime seating solutions.

International Expansion: Following Shark Seating’s expansion into Europe and increased sales, what strategies have you employed to maintain and grow your international client base?

 

At Shark Seating, our passion is deeply rooted in our mission: to significantly reduce the number of people affected by spinal injuries on boats. Central to our success is a customer-centric approach that drives our strategies for maintaining and expanding our international client base.

 

We recognise that our mission remains critical as long as there are customers who lack adequate protection from wave impacts. This drives our continuous efforts to innovate and improve our products, ensuring they remain accessible to all who need them.

 

Additionally, we are committed to tripling our investment in the 5 P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, and People) every three years. This bold strategy has yielded remarkable results, with sales increasing thirty-fold over the past decade.

 

Looking ahead, we have a robust plan in place to achieve another thirty-fold increase in sales over the next ten years. Our aim is to make suspension seating a standard in the maritime industry, bringing safety and comfort to the forefront. We invite you to stay tuned as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation and accessibility in maritime seating solutions.

Innovations in Seating Design: Shark Seating is known for its innovative approach to marine seating. Can you discuss a recent product innovation that you’re particularly proud of?

 

Shark Seating’s commitment to innovation in marine seating design is exemplified by our recent breakthrough in addressing the pressing issue of back injuries among tourboat passengers. Six years ago, reports surfaced of tour boat operators facing severe financial repercussions, including bankruptcy, due to the denial of public liability insurance claims stemming from passenger back injuries. This alarming trend prompted us to develop a solution that would benefit both passengers and operators alike.

 

To meet this challenge, we set out to create a suspension seating system that was compact, lightweight, and cost-effective enough to be installed in large numbers on tourboats. The result of our endeavor was the development of the ULTRA-lite and EVO suspension seats, crafted using injection-molded technology. Weighing in at a mere 7kg each and priced comparably to standard unsuspended jockey seating, these seats offer unparalleled comfort and safety for passengers without imposing significant financial strain on operators.

 

Our innovation has not only revolutionised the tourboat industry but has also paved the way for enhanced safety standards across marine transportation sectors. For a detailed account of this groundbreaking development, we invite you to explore the full story in our article: Link to the article.

Sustainability Initiatives: Sustainability and environmental responsibility are key concerns for many businesses today. What steps is Shark Seating taking to reduce its environmental impact?

 

At Shark Seating, we recognise the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility in today’s business landscape. To reduce our environmental impact, we have implemented several initiatives, with a focus on innovative materials and carbon sequestration.

 

One notable achievement is the development of our FLEXANITE material, which is used in all our suspension seats. FLEXANITE is composed of 100% bio-plastic, designed to consume its own weight in carbon dioxide. This not only reduces our reliance on traditional plastics but also contributes to carbon sequestration, even if the material ends up in a landfill. Furthermore, FLEXANITE is recyclable, ensuring a circular lifecycle for our products.

 

To learn more about our sustainability initiatives and how we’re harnessing carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate environmental impact, we invite you to visit our website: Link to the article.

Challenges and Achievements: Every business faces its set of challenges, especially when it comes to innovation. Can you share a significant challenge Shark Seating overcame and what it taught you?

 

Every business encounters its share of challenges, particularly in the realm of innovation. One significant challenge Shark Seating faced underscored the importance of rigorous testing and adaptability.

 

As Albert Einstein aptly stated, ‘If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.’ A decade ago, we embarked on the ambitious endeavor of crafting all our suspensions from plastic, fully aware of the immense forces they would endure—nearly 1 tonne. Despite subjecting prototypes to rigorous lab testing, simulating up to 1 million full impacts, we recognised that real-world conditions would provide the ultimate test, especially in defense and rescue boats.

 

The reality soon set in as we encountered variations in plastic batches, highlighting the need for meticulous quality control measures. Embracing Shane Parrish’s wisdom that ‘it’s not the failures that define us so much as how we respond,’ we made a pivotal decision to implement 100% testing of all production parts six years ago.

 

This decision was not without its challenges, as we faced the necessity of recalling a batch at considerable expense, requiring personnel to travel to Iceland on two occasions.

 

However, this proactive approach proved instrumental in averting potential safety hazards. Despite thousands of our seats being subjected to harrowing conditions—such as boats free-falling up to 6 meters in rough seas—our commitment to quality assurance has yielded an impeccable safety record: zero injuries in ten years.

 

This experience has taught us the importance of resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to safety and quality. It serves as a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence in maritime seating solutions.

Customer-Centric Approach: Shark Seating emphasises a strong connection with its customers. How do you ensure that your customer service stands out in the industry?

 

At Shark Seating, we recognise the dual layers of customers inherent in our mission to safeguard backs across the maritime industry. Our customer-centric approach extends beyond boat owners and operators to encompass boat builders, forging symbiotic relationships that drive mutual success.

 

We pride ourselves on fostering exceptionally strong connections with boat builders who integrate our seats into their vessels. This partnership is founded on a shared commitment to excellence, where we enhance their offerings with cutting-edge technology, and in turn, they amplify our brand recognition.

 

In our experience, boat builders fall into two categories: those who prioritise offering the best and safest technology to their customers and those who only consider safety options upon request. Fortunately, within the realm of professional boats—such as government tenders, sea rescue, and defense—the specification mandates the inclusion of suspension seats. Leveraging the weight and cost advantages of Shark Suspension Seats, we’ve observed that whenever boat builders opt for our seats in tenders, the resulting vessels not only meet safety standards but also benefit from enhanced range, capacity, and performance, to the delight of end users.

To reflect our unwavering dedication to achieving tangible outcomes for both boat providers and end users, we’ve rebranded our customer service as ‘customer success.’ This shift underscores our commitment to delivering results and ensuring the success of our customers at every stage of their journey

Future Outlook: Looking ahead, what new markets or innovations is Shark Seating exploring to continue its growth and influence in the marine industry?

 

While we have ambitious plans for the future, we recognise the importance of strategic discretion. Rest assured, Shark Seating remains dedicated to our core principles of affordable performance, usability, lightness, simplicity, and customer success. These values will continue to drive our growth and influence in the marine industry, enabling us to achieve our goal of a thirty-fold expansion every decade.

 

As Forrest Gump famously said, ‘and that’s all I have to say about that.’ Rest assured, our commitment to innovation and excellence remains steadfast, propelling Shark Seating into exciting new markets and pioneering groundbreaking innovations. We invite you to stay tuned as we embark on the next phase of our journey

 

In Association with:

Springfield Group is a leading manufacturer of marine seating, pedestals, and mounting systems. They provide a wide range of products, including removable and fixed pedestals, mounting systems, tables, and accessories, catering to the needs of boat builders and marine enthusiasts. Springfield Group is committed to quality and innovation, ensuring durable and comfortable solutions for marine environments. They also offer extensive support and resources for their products, enhancing customer experience.

http://www.springfieldgrp.com/

DM8 Composites specialises in the construction and repair of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats, including pleasure yachts, passenger ferries, and patrol boats. Located in Danao City, Cebu, their modern boatyard aims to lead in FRP vacuum-bag construction, adhering to international standards. Established in 2018, DM8 Composites focuses on innovation, quality, and advanced engineering to deliver world-class vessels and services in new builds, repairs, and refits.

https://www.dm8composites.ph/

Hypro Marine, since 1976, designs and manufactures high-quality power-assisted steering systems for luxury motor yachts and commercial vessels. They provide bespoke hydraulic control solutions and distribute top marine products like Zipwake and Lectrotab. Known for innovation and reliability, Hypro Marine also offers extensive technical support and is ISO9001 accredited, ensuring superior performance and service.

https://hypromarine.com

 

GSR Services

Ensuring Maritime Compliance: Henning Gramann’s Vision for GSR Services

Join us in an insightful conversation with Henning Gramann, Managing Owner of GSR Services, as he discusses the complexities and challenges of IHM compliance in the maritime industry. Henning sheds light on the strategic innovations and technological advancements that GSR Services employs to streamline IHM maintenance, enhance compliance accuracy, and minimise risks for shipowners. He also offers valuable advice for companies navigating IHM compliance and shares his vision for the future of sustainable practices in maritime operations. Discover how GSR Services is leading the way in ensuring safe and environmentally sound ship recycling while promoting industry-wide improvements and collaboration.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

IHM Compliance and Challenges: Given the complexities of IHM compliance, what are the most significant challenges that shipowners and suppliers face today in maintaining compliance?

 

Generally, the complexities are not well understood. If IHMs would help save fuel or reduce emissions, it would be taken much more seriously and time would be spent digesting the rules and required actions.

 

Since the end of 2020, a certified and maintained Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) contained in the structure and equipment of ships (IHM Part I) is required for EU-flagged ships above 500GT and all ships regardless of flag when visiting an EU-port. In the summer of 2025, the International Hong Kong Convention on safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships of IMO will enter into force, affecting more ships with mostly similar requirements than already with the EU regulation.

 

IHM is generally a quite exotic topic in the maritime industry. While getting the IHM developed and initially certified is a single effort, the maintenance of IHM applies for the entire ship’s life. This is often seen as a “necessary evil” without adding value. Various inconsistent practices for development and maintenance of IHMs have developed, also by service suppliers. The maintenance is sometimes even totally forgotten or ignored.

 

Due to lack of control, such incompliances remain undetected so far! The IHM is also to be re-certified at least every five years and as most have been developed in 2019 and 2020, the wave of re-certifications is coming. It will be interesting to see what will happen if an IHM is found not to have been properly maintained.

 

The core aim of IHMs is to support the planning of safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships by the recycler. If the IHM is faulty, incomplete, or too vague, either due to poor development or maintenance, this goal can’t be achieved and potentially even more risks are created than without any IHM. The IHM is not just a report but a technical file belonging to the ship. That means if it is of poor quality, substantial claims may be initiated against the seller by future owners or recyclers besides hefty fines for detected IHM incompliances during Port State Control Inspections.

 

In addition, recycling planning is also not part of daily operations as ships have a long lifespan. As such, related activities, including the development of IHM Part 2 (hazardous wastes onboard) and Part 3 (hazardous materials in stores), often happen spontaneously and without a proper strategy at hand. The outcome is either a top-dollar/low-quality approach, using greenwashing solutions, or trying to do it right but risking falling short on considering all relevant aspects and evaluating the options at hand.

Strategies for Efficient IHM Maintenance: You’ve emphasised the need for efficient IHM maintenance. Can you elaborate on the strategies GSR Services employs to minimise risks and costs for shipowners while ensuring compliance?

 

Most importantly, we carefully review all order data of a ship to identify the “IHM-relevant order items.” This creates a focus and prevents unnecessary workload for suppliers, shipboard crew, and service suppliers like us.

 

The challenge is that applicable rules are scattered across various regulations in the Hong Kong Convention, EU Ship Recycling Regulation, and IHM Guidelines of IMO. These regulations describe the general approach to “properly maintain and update the IHM Part I throughout the operational life, reflecting new installations and changes in structure and equipment containing hazardous materials of ships according to requirements for new ships.” This means activities causing a change in hazardous materials onboard need to be documented. Related details, such as hazardous materials contained in a product (i.e. Table A & B of IHM Guidelines for non-EU flagged vessels, Annex 2 substances for EU-Vessels), must be provided by suppliers in the form of a general “Suppliers Declaration of Conformity” (SDoC) and product-specific “Material Declarations.”

 

In addition to “causing a change,” various exclusions apply, such as loosely fitted items, metal and metal alloys, consumables, identical spare parts and coatings, items falling under the scope of IHM Part 2 or 3 (Table C of IHM Guidelines), and regular consumer products (Table D of IHM Guidelines) like TV sets, light bulbs, and furniture.

 

Due to these exclusion rules, it must be emphasised that always an order item counts, not an entire order, and the entire process has to reflect this. If an IHM Maintenance report only reflects PO numbers, it is cumbersome, and often nearly impossible, to identify the IHM-relevant order items contained therein. This causes an unacceptable level of intransparency, making recertification much more difficult and creating risks during PSC inspections. Unfortunately, this approach is more common than many think. As the wave of re-certifications is ahead of us, let’s see how this will be handled.

 

Supplier documents are required for all “IHM-relevant order items,” including non-hazardous products. Even for IHM maintenance, only hazardous material-containing products need to be tracked onboard. Without supplier documents, neither presence nor absence of hazardous materials can be verified. Related Maintenance Reports of the IHM should reflect changes, including locations and quantities, and provide related documents for both “non-hazardous” and “hazardous order items.” Otherwise, there is no transparency, and potential questions about why an item is not reflected due to either the absence of hazardous materials or the lack of documents from the supplier will be more difficult to answer over time.

 

A proper understanding and application of these rules and exemptions to individual order items are necessary for efficient IHM maintenance. If done properly, less than 5% of all order items are identified as “relevant,” for which only about 1% of Material Declarations state that a hazardous material is contained and the item requires tracking onboard. All this must be reflected in reports, and the crew only needs to track 0.05% of all order items for IHM maintenance. Such performance cannot be achieved with half-hearted approaches or when a purchasing system only has generic rules for categorization integrated.

 

What we see is that suppliers are first confronted with many unnecessary requests, making it more difficult to maintain focus. Despite this, the required information is not always at hand and needs to be gathered from their own supply chain. Sub-suppliers might not be focused on the maritime market or even aware that their products are sold to ships. As such, maritime requirements like Material Declarations (MDs) are unknown to them, and they are unprepared or unwilling to spend time and accept liabilities for this specific market. Consequently, related tasks can be as time-consuming for maritime suppliers as IHM maintenance is for ships.

 

Besides unnecessary requests creating more efforts and costs for all, they also increase the risk of documentation gaps. Even when artificially created by various shortcomings, they must be documented black on white in the reports, a great source for questions and trouble during recertification and PSC inspections.

 

GSR puts a lot of effort into careful relevancy checks, smooth processes, and supportive follow-up activities. Our motto is that “we’re all rowing in one boat,” and it doesn’t make sense to make compliance aspects bigger or more cumbersome than necessary. Smart solutions and the right attitude help all of us, reduce risks, and save costs for everyone.

Role of Technology in IHM Maintenance: How does GSR Services incorporate technology and digital tools, such as NautilusLog, to streamline IHM maintenance and enhance the accuracy of compliance documentation?

 

IHMs are to be developed prior to the delivery of a ship by the building yard using supplier documents. After delivery, IHM maintenance is required for the entire operational life. This means tens of thousands of individual files must be collected, managed, kept, and described items tracked (new installations, relocations, removals), with the whole process certified at least every five years. This alone makes it clear that an Excel-based approach will not be sufficient.

 

On top of that, crucial tasks like evaluating order items, exchange with suppliers, sending reminders, controlling provided documents, keeping them available, following up onboard, updating IHM, and transparent maintenance reporting including item-specific histories make it obvious that only dedicated software can keep this task manageable. Updated IHMs must also be available in case of a PSC inspection. Manually, this task would be nearly impossible or at least extremely time-consuming and resource-intensive.

 

At GSR, we started looking into all these aspects in 2006 and developed the necessary processes for efficiently fulfilling the requirements, at that time still in the drafting stage at IMO. The managing owner was directly involved in the related developments at IMO and is familiar not only with the outcomes in writing but also with the discussions and considerations behind the rules. Seven years ago, GSR started collaborating with the startup NautilusLog, and all experiences have been incorporated into their software solution. We continue to learn and implement further improvements in the system to enhance efficiency.

 

Most order data from clients is automatically uploaded into the tool via API connections; others are manually imported. Each order item is cross-checked with the IMPA catalogue, which we have fully categorised, plus our more than 4,500 word-rules carefully developed over the years. Whatever item is not categorised automatically is then managed manually by us. The results of categorizations are recorded, and for relevant order items, a request is sent out to the related supplier. GSR Services and Sinwa Singapore also joined hands to develop a freely accessible categorization tool for order items to ease the process for all involved.

 

Each supplier gets an individual landing page showing all open requests, where documents can easily be uploaded. Once this is done, a task appears in the system for us at GSR to review the document. If found to be inaccurate, it is not accepted, and the supplier is notified with our individual message explaining the reasons for rejection. If the document is accepted, parameters are set regarding the presence of hazardous materials in the specific product. If absent, the document is archived; if present, the system generates a task for the crew to label and track the item by specifying locations and quantities stored or installed. Then, a new or modified entry in the ship-specific IHM and maintenance report is generated.

 

An up to date maintenance report can be generated on demand 24/7 with a simple click in the system by any of the registered users. We suggest finishing all tasks and generating a report prior to arrival at a port. As we don’t charge for this, it comes at no extra cost, and ships are always well prepared for inspections and audits.

Impact of Incorrect Material Declarations (MDs): What are the potential consequences for shipowners and suppliers when incorrect MDs are submitted, and how does GSR Services work to prevent these errors?

 

If suppliers do not take proper care when developing and providing MDs to their customers, they can be held liable for false information for as long as the product exists onboard. That is a long time, and liability means that any subsequent damage caused by false documents, for instance, the presence of a heavy metal in a product must be compensated for. Over time, ship-specific IHMs become more inaccurate if suppliers fail to perform their duties. As mentioned, an IHM is a technical file and may lead to disputes between buyers and sellers of ships when it is not accurate. It is also important to remember that the aim of IHMs is to support the planning of safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. The risks and potential consequences are most significant in this context.

 

Considering the risks involved, we strongly warn against using converter tools that transfer POs into separate MDs for each order item contained or signing “nothing contained-MDs” provided as attachments to the requests sent to suppliers. Such approaches only increase the risks of false MDs, even though they might seem like a convenient quick fix. Any supplier who wants to remain in the market should avoid these practices. Instead, and when known well, other regulations and standards can be utilised for evaluating the presence and absence of hazardous materials in products.

 

GSR Services works diligently to prevent these errors by ensuring suppliers understand their obligations and the importance of accurate MDs. We provide clear guidance and individual support to suppliers, emphasising the critical role that MDs play in maintaining accurate IHMs. Our processes include detailed checks and follow-ups to verify the information provided in MDs. By fostering a thorough and transparent approach, we help minimise the risks of incorrect MDs and ensure that all parties involved can rely on the accuracy of the IHM documentation.

Education and Support for Suppliers: Given the intricate requirements of IHM maintenance, what support and education does GSR Services provide to suppliers to ensure they understand and meet these obligations?

 

We achieve a high return ratio of MDs on our requests, often well above 90%. Besides maintaining a clear focus on required documents, we also provide a hands-on manual on the landing pages for suppliers. Frequently, we offer workshops and webinars, including Q&A sessions, to raise awareness and find individual solutions within the legal framework. Additionally, GSR always provides personal support of up to one hour free of charge to all suppliers of its clients via phone, emails, and video calls. We also run a YouTube channel with webinars on demand.

 

We strive for cooperation and raising awareness, as this helps to lessen related efforts for all and increase compliance throughout the industry. This approach is far more helpful than threatening suppliers with reporting their “uncooperative behaviour” to their customers. As we also support suppliers by taking care of their MD management, we have experienced these challenges firsthand. In cases where we reject MD requests from shipowners or their service suppliers when supporting suppliers for items excluded from IHM maintenance by the rules, we inform the requester with a clear justification.

 

In instances where service suppliers do not understand the rules properly or interpret them differently, we have been pressurised and accused of bending the rules. This has even led to suppliers being reported, risking damage to their reputation. In such cases, we had to approach the shipowner the service supplier was working for to clarify the situation and elaborate the rules.

Improvements in Industry Practices: You’ve noted industry practices that complicate IHM maintenance. What improvements would you like to see implemented across the industry to address these issues?


A significant step towards unified processing and understanding are the industry guidelines for shipowners and suppliers on IHM maintenance. These guidelines have been developed by major associations such as ICS, BIMCO, ISSA, and others. Many of the same individuals active in the working group on ship recycling at IMO, which developed the IHM Guidelines and the Hong Kong Convention, also contributed to these industry guidelines.

 

When the associations discussed and reviewed current performance in regards to IHM maintenance, they jointly decided to develop industry guidance due to the immense demand and confusion. Henning Gramann of GSR Services participated in this development and was asked to share its process description. After a detailed review by the experts involved, including various lawyers from the associations, our process was fully incorporated. As such our understanding and practices have been independently verified and found to be fully compliant.

 

The most significant improvements can be achieved when all stakeholders – shipowners, their service suppliers, ship suppliers, as well as Porst State Control (PSC) and classification societies – carefully consider the industry guidance and act in compliance with it. This collective adherence will help streamline processes, reduce confusion, and ensure a higher standard of IHM maintenance across the industry.

Compliance Data Management Approach: Could you explain the concept of ‘Compliance Data Management’ and how it differs from the expertise traditionally found among IHM experts?

 

First of all, IHM experts are often class-approved specialists who go onboard ships to investigate the presence of hazardous materials. This involves visual checks and sampling. However, this approach is not suitable for newbuildings or IHM maintenance. As such, the related class approvals do not cover IHM maintenance, even though some claim to be approved for this as well.

 

Compliance data management, on the other hand, involves a transparent and traceable exchange of product data within supply chains, ideally down to raw materials, and the aggregation of such data for finished products. These products can be as complex as cars, electronics, medical equipment, and ships. The goal is to ensure traceability and automatic updates throughout entire supply chains, maintaining transparency and assigning related liabilities for the information provided.

 

Everyone involved is responsible only for the information they provide and combine, not for the details from others. This approach ensures that data is managed in a way that supports compliance with regulations and maintains the integrity of the information throughout the supply chain, differing significantly from the traditional methods used by IHM experts.

Partnership and Collaboration in Recycling: Can you discuss a specific case where GSR Services successfully facilitated compliant ship recycling, and what were the key factors that contributed to this success?

Besides a few projects, there are two ships and their owners worth highlighting. With the owners of a New Zealand Navy Tanker and a Campaign Vessel of Greenpeace, we jointly developed their ship recycling policies and tender requirements. We identified ship-specific hazardous materials and set requirements for the recycling of their assets. Interested ship recyclers were requested to prove their capabilities to comply with international and individual requirements and show willingness to accommodate individual criteria. These facilities were then inspected by GSR experts.

 

The outcome of the due diligence inspection was a rating that ensured commercial aspects could not compensate for shortcomings in quality. We accompanied contract negotiations, planned the last voyage including certifications, and then supervised the entire process from the arrival of the ships at the ship recycling facilities until the last disposal of wastes. The Navy vessel was recycled in India, marking the first-ever recycling under full compliance with the Basel Convention, while the Greenpeace vessel was recycled in Spain under EU-rules. Both projects ensured full traceability of all materials and were completed without any pollution, accidents, or incidents.

 

It’s also important to mention the many projects we have carried out with ship recyclers since 2013. We were the first to achieve full compliance with the Hong Kong Convention for ship recyclers in India. Such facilities look and operate very differently from what others claim is common “beaching.” Over the years, we have worked with more than 60 ship recyclers in various countries, helping them to substantially upgrade their practices.

 

Future of IHM Practices: Looking forward, how do you see IHM practices evolving in the maritime industry, especially with potential new regulations and global standards?

 

The IHM, including its maintenance, is sometimes interpreted as a means to support material circularity—in other words, to increase the recycling of valuable materials. This interpretation is not entirely accurate as it only covers one aspect of material circularity, or Cradle2Cradle. As such, we challenge this interpretation.

 

What is true is that the basics, like gathering and tracking material information over the lifecycle of a ship, are helpful, but the scope of IHMs needs to be extensively widened. When properly combining material compliance data exchange and tracking for ships, not only Cradle2Cradle but also sufficient ESG-Reporting and compliance with CSRD can be achieved. Today, we often see only partial reporting, which is far from comprehensive enough to meet the new legal requirements in the EU and UK.

 

In other words, extended data processing can be utilised for substituting SVHCs (substances of very high concern), ensuring the circulation of materials and resources, preventing downcycling and wastage, increasing the efficiency of using resources, and elevating sustainability. New requirements on sustainability reporting and financing are based to a very great extent on this data, and we are soon to release a complete service to support companies in their sustainability efforts and fulfilling related requirements.

 

This is a complex topic that could fill many further pages, so let’s keep it short for now.

Advice for navigating IHM Compliance: For companies struggling with IHM compliance, what practical steps can they take to improve their processes, and how can engaging with a service like from GSR Services benefit them?

 

As a first step, the Industry Guidance is great for clarifying the required steps, roles, and responsibilities of the different stakeholders, including relevancy checks. Seeking advice from classification societies may not be as helpful, as many are not necessarily better informed.

 

Various service suppliers offer different approaches, and their methods should be evaluated. For example, check whether they report on an order item-level, provide a converter tool, or pre-filled documents and the percentage of “IHN-relevant order items” is an easy KPI to consider. It’s also enlightening to ask suppliers about their experiences with the various service suppliers in terms of total costs, not just the service fees should be compared but also external costs and efforts generated is important.

 

Additionally, we at GSR Services are always happy to share our information and experience through platforms like YouTube, our website, LinkedIn, and in articles like this one. Taking a few minutes to digest this information will help all to make the right decisions. Engaging with a service like from GSR Services can provide practical insights, ensure compliance, and streamline the entire IHM process, ultimately minimising risks and costs for shipowners and their supply chains.

 

In Association with:

Bansal Group, established in 1999, is a major corporate house in Central India with diverse interests. They operate in sectors including education, healthcare, FMCG, iron and steel, infrastructure, and media. The group is known for its commitment to care and empathy, offering services such as a multi-specialty hospital, educational institutions, and the redevelopment of Rani Kamalapati Railway Station. Bansal Group combines visionary leadership with innovative practices to drive growth and community development.

https://bansalgroupindia.com/

JRD Industries, established in 1993, is a leading ship recycling company based in Alang, India. They hold compliance certificates from Lloyd’s Register and Class NK, ensuring adherence to the Hong Kong Convention and EU regulations. With a focus on environmental sustainability and worker safety, JRD Industries provides high-standard ship recycling services. Their business model emphasizes single-ship recycling with minimal handling for maximum safety and quality.

http://www.jrdindustries.net/

High Seas Marine & Industrial Services Co Ltd

Enhancing Maritime Services: Insights from High Seas Marine & Industrial Services Leadership Team

High Seas Marine & Industrial Services Co Ltd stands at the forefront of the maritime industry in Saudi Arabia, offering a comprehensive range of services including vessel chartering, ship chandelling, technical support, and marine agency services. In this exclusive interview, we engage with key members of the High Seas leadership team: Vladimir Poddubnyy, Managing Director; Ahmed Nagmar Marine Operations Manager; Rovelyn Camagong, Supply Chain & Chartering Contracts Manager (Vessel Chartering); Mohammed Hussain Mulla, Ship Chandelling Manager; Tamer Younis, TSS Manager (Technical Support Services); and Shaiju Shajahan, Agency Manager. Together, they provide valuable insights into the company’s vision, strategies for growth, sustainability practices, and their commitment to excellence in service delivery. Discover how High Seas Marine is navigating the complexities of the maritime industry and setting new standards for quality and efficiency.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Questions for Vladimir Poddubnyy, Managing Director

Company Vision and Growth: Can you provide an overview of High Seas Marine & Industrial Services and discuss the company’s vision and strategic goals for growth in the next five years?

 

High Seas Marine & Industrial Services is a leading provider of marine and industrial services since 2010 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. High Seas is aggressively engaged in providing our customer a full service like a “one stop shops” for all marine services like chartering offshore support vessels, Marine agency services, ship chandlery services and Technical Support Services to clients which are carried out at (though not necessarily limited to) Ras Tanura, Dammam Port, Khafji port and Jubail commercial, industrial port, Ras Al Khair, and Aramco Fields.

 

The vision of High Seas Marine is to become the premier provider of marine and industrial services in the region, known for its excellence in safety and service delivery, innovation, and customer satisfaction. The company aims to achieve this vision by focusing on strategic growth initiatives that will drive expansion and increase market share in the next five years.

 

One of the key strategic goals for growth at High Seas Marine is diversifying our service offerings to meet the evolving needs of our customers and expand our customer base and entering new markets to drive revenue growth. We’re investing in state-of-the-art equipment and training program to ensure that our team members are equipped with the skills and expertise needed to deliver superior service to clients. By improving operational efficiency and expanding our service offerings, we aim to reduce costs, increase productivity, enhance customer satisfaction and attract new customers and increase revenue streams. With a strong commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction, High Seas Marine is well-positioned for success in the years to come.

 

Sustainability and Compliance: How does High Seas ensure compliance with international standards and what sustainability practices have you implemented to minimise environmental impact?

 

Sustainability and compliance are crucial aspects of our operations, especially in the marine industry. At High Seas Marine, we prioritise both environmental sustainability and strict adherence to international standards. We understand the delicate balance between maritime operations and environmental well-being.

 

One of the key ways High Seas ensures compliance with international standards is by adhering to regulations set forth by organisations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We have implemented our Safety Management System and HSM policy, and our commitment is demonstrated by achieving certifications such as Document of Compliance in 2022, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 25001:2018 standards, along with the implementation of OVMS. These certifications ensure that our operations meet the highest standards of safety, environmental protection, and sustainability, while also enhancing our reputation in the industry and opening new opportunities for growth.

 

High Seas employs eco-friendly technologies and materials in our operations. We use biodegradable materials and environmentally friendly cleaning products to reduce our impact on marine ecosystems. We have implemented strict waste management practices to prevent marine pollution and regularly conduct environmental impact assessments to identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies. By minimising our carbon footprint and contributing to the preservation of marine ecosystems, we aim to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Question for Almed Nagmar, Marine Operations Manager

Vessel Chartering Operations: Can you elaborate on the vessel chartering services provided by High Seas and how you ensure the reliability and efficiency of these operations?

 

High Seas offers a wide range of vessel chartering services for various purposes. Our chartering operations include crew vessel chartering services for transporting personnel to and from offshore installations, oil rigs, and other maritime locations. Our crew vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art safety features and amenities to ensure the comfort and well-being of crew members and passengers. We have a team of experienced and skilled crew members who are trained to handle all types of situations and provide excellent service to our clients. We prioritise safety and customer satisfaction in all our passenger vessel operations.

 

In addition, we offer offshore support vessel chartering services for various offshore operations, including delivering provisions offshore, surveys and diving operations, maintenance, and construction activities. We work closely with our clients to understand their specific requirements and provide customised solutions to meet their needs.

 

We follow strict quality control measures and safety protocols to ensure the reliability and efficiency of our vessel chartering operations. We conduct regular maintenance checks and inspections on all our vessels to ensure they are in optimal condition for operation. Our crew members undergo rigorous training and certification programs to ensure they are well-prepared to handle any situation that may arise during a chartering operation.

Question for Rovelyn Camagong, Supply Chain & Chartering Contracts
Manager

Client Relationship Management: How do you manage client relationships and ensure satisfaction in both vessel chartering and taxi boat services, especially in a competitive market?

 

Client relationship management (CRM) is crucial for building strong relationships with our clients, ensuring repeat business, and maintaining a competitive edge in the market. We use personalised service as a tool for relationship management. We take the time to understand the unique needs and preferences of each client, whether they are chartering a vessel for a long-term offshore project or using taxi boat services for transportation and other various offshore operations.

 

We have a dedicated customer service team available 24/7 to address any concerns or issues our clients may have. We prioritise open communication and transparency in all our operations to ensure our clients are informed and satisfied with our services. By tailoring our services to meet the specific requirements of each client, our commitment to excellence and professionalism sets us apart as a trusted provider of vessel chartering services in the maritime industry.

 

Question for Mohammed Husssain Mulla, Ship Chandelling Manager

Quality and Timeliness: How do you ensure the quality and timely delivery of food provisions, machinery, and other materials to vessels, and what challenges do you typically face in this process?

 

Ensuring top-notch quality is our priority, and we enforce stringent quality control measures at every stage of our operations. Our dedicated team meticulously inspects all incoming materials to verify they meet our rigorous standards before they are dispatched to our clients. Collaborating closely with trusted suppliers allows us to procure the finest products available, and we consistently assess and enhance our processes through ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

 

Our logistics system is designed to ensure that we meet deadlines consistently and reliably. By working closely with our clients to understand their individual requirements, we are able to customise delivery schedules that align with their timelines. Our team of experienced logistics professionals is dedicated to coordinating shipments, tracking deliveries, and ensuring that goods arrive at their intended destinations on time.

 

While we may encounter unexpected obstacles such as inclement weather that could impact delivery schedules, we are proactive in communicating with clients to explore alternative options and mitigate any potential delays. Our commitment to open communication and proactive problem-solving ensures that we consistently deliver on our promise of timely and reliable service.

 

One of the obstacles we encounter is the intricate web of international shipping regulations and customs procedures. The complexities involved in navigating these regulations can be daunting, but our team is highly knowledgeable in these areas and works tirelessly to ensure that all required documentation is complete and that shipments pass through customs seamlessly.

 

Although these challenges can be demanding, we are dedicated to overcoming them and delivering top-notch service to our clients. Our team’s expertise and commitment to excellence enable us to navigate the complexities of international shipping regulations, ensuring that our clients’ shipments reach their destinations without unnecessary delays or complications.

 

Questions for Mohammed Hussain Mulla, Ship Chandelling Manager

Comprehensive Chandelling Services: Can you describe the range of ship chandelling services offered by High Seas and how you meet the diverse needs of vessels in terms of provisions and materials?

 

High Seas Marine is your go-to provider for all your chandelling needs. We offer a wide range of services to meet the diverse requirements of vessels, ensuring they are well-stocked and equipped for their journeys. Our provisions are of the highest quality, with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and dry goods available to keep your crew well-fed and satisfied. Additionally, we provide a variety of materials and supplies, including fresh water, deck store items, safety equipment, and spare parts, tailored to meet the operational needs of different vessels. With High Seas Marine, vessels can rely on personalised service and top-notch products to navigate the seas with confidence.

 

At High Seas Marine, we understand the individuality of each vessel, recognizing that they have their own distinct requirements and preferences. This is why we prioritise close collaboration with our clients to gain a deep understanding of their needs, allowing us to deliver tailored solutions that align with their specific demands. Whether a vessel requires provisions, materials, or any other chandelling service, we are dedicated to offering exceptional service and ensuring our clients have all the necessary resources to operate seamlessly and effectively.

 

With our team of knowledgeable experts and an unwavering commitment to excellence, we are confident in our ability to address the needs of every vessel, no matter the level of uniqueness or complexity. Trust High Seas Marine to deliver personalised and top-tier solutions that support your maritime endeavours.

Questions for Tamer Younis, TSS Manager (Technical Support Services)

Scope of Technical Support: Can you provide details about the technical support services offered by High Seas, including the expertise and qualifications of your technical team?

 

Our Technical Support Services provide a wide spectrum of afloat repair services to shipowners and operators, both alongside the port and offshore, from our facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are recognized service providers by various classification societies such as ABS and DNV for inspection, maintenance, and certification of LSA/FFA, SCBA, services of life rafts, inflatable lifejackets, HRU, marine evacuation systems, general maintenance, ship repair/maintenance and certification, calibration, GMDSS Radio Survey, UTG NDT Survey, and diving operations.

 

Our technical team is comprised of engineers, naval architects, qualified technicians, welders, divers, and other professionals who have undergone rigorous training and certification to ensure they are up to date with the latest industry standards and regulations. This expertise allows us to provide comprehensive technical support services to our clients, helping them navigate complex regulatory requirements and ensure the safety and compliance of their vessels.

 

Innovations and Safety: How is High Seas integrating new technologies into its technical support services to improve efficiency, and what safety protocols are in place to ensure high standards?

 

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses are constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency and productivity. High Seas is at the forefront of integrating new technologies to enhance our operations by using advanced technologies and automating routine tasks and processes.

 

We place a strong emphasis on safety protocols to ensure high standards of safety for our clients. We are implementing rigorous training programs for our technicians, ensuring that they are well-equipped to handle any technical issues that may arise. Furthermore, High Seas adheres to strict safety guidelines and regulations set forth by industry standards, ensuring that all work is carried out in a safe and secure manner.

 

We also conduct regular safety audits and inspections to identify and address any potential hazards or risks. By prioritising safety, High Seas is able to provide its clients with peace of mind, knowing that the technical support services are being handled by a company that places safety as its top priority.

 

Questions for Shaiju Shajahan, Agency Manager

Marine Agency Services Overview: Can you explain the range of marine agency services provided by High Seas and how these services benefit your clients?

 

High Seas offers a comprehensive suite of marine agency services designed to support our clients’ needs effectively and efficiently.

 

Port Agency Services: We handle all aspects of vessel arrivals and departures, including coordinating pilotage and tug services, managing customs and immigration formalities, and assisting with cargo operations. By managing these critical tasks, we ensure that our clients’ vessels are efficiently processed in port, saving time and reducing costs.

 

Husbandry Services: Our husbandry services include arranging crew changes, providing medical assistance, and addressing any other requirements that may arise during a vessel’s stay in port. Our team is available 24/7, ensuring continuous support for our clients whenever they need it.

 

Cargo Agency Services: We coordinate the loading and unloading of cargo, arrange for storage and transportation, and handle all necessary documentation. By managing these operations, we streamline our clients’ processes, ensuring their cargo is handled with utmost care and efficiency.

 

The range of marine agency services provided by High Seas is designed to deliver substantial benefits to our clients. By entrusting their maritime needs to us, clients can concentrate on their core business activities while we take care of the complexities involved in port operations, crew changes, and cargo handling. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to delivering services that meet the highest standards of quality and efficiency. When it comes to marine agency services, High Seas is the partner you can trust.

 

Coordination and Logistics Management: How do you manage the coordination and logistics of services such as crew changes, custom clearance, and port access, ensuring smooth and efficient operations for vessels?

 

At High Seas, we prioritise meticulous planning, effective communication, and the utilisation of advanced technology to ensure smooth and efficient operations for vessels. Here’s how we manage the coordination and logistics of essential services:

 

Strategic Planning: We develop comprehensive plans for crew changes, customs clearance, and port access, detailing each step and the associated timelines. This proactive approach allows us to make all necessary arrangements well in advance, minimising the risk of last-minute issues that could disrupt operations.

 

Effective Communication: Maintaining open lines of communication with all stakeholders—including crew members, port authorities, customs officials, and service providers—is crucial. By keeping everyone informed and updated on the status of services, we can prevent misunderstandings or delays that could impact vessel operations.

 

Leveraging Technology: We utilise digital tools and software to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and provide real-time visibility into the status of services. Our technology solutions help automate tasks, track progress, and identify potential bottlenecks or issues that need prompt attention, ensuring smooth operations.

 

Skilled Team: We have a dedicated team of professionals with expertise in coordination and logistics management. Our team members possess a deep understanding of the maritime industry, regulations, and best practices, enabling them to navigate complex logistical challenges effectively and ensure that services are delivered seamlessly.

 

By integrating these strategies, we ensure that vessels operate smoothly and efficiently, minimising disruptions and maximising productivity. Our proactive and assertive approach to coordination and logistics management upholds the highest standards of service and safety in the maritime industry.

Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH

Charting a Greener Course: Christoph Witte’s Vision for Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe

We engage in an insightful conversation with Christoph Witte, Managing Director of Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH, as he shares his innovative approach to transforming ferry operations on Lake Constance. With a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, Christoph discusses the strategic decision-making behind adopting fully electric ferries, the challenges of implementing sustainable energy solutions, and the vision for decarbonising the entire fleet. Discover how Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe is setting a pioneering example in the decarbonisation of German inland navigation, aligning with the broader goals of sustainability and technological advancement.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Strategic Innovation: Could you explain the decision-making process behind choosing fully electric ferries for short routes, such as the MS ‘Insel Mainau’ operation?

 

Almost exactly five years ago, the city of Konstanz declared a climate emergency and subsequently decided to become carbon neutral by 2035. As a municipal company, we were naturally among the first to be called upon to implement this initiative, and we were happy to do so.

 

The first Corona season gave us a lot of time to think about fleet development. Normally, we replace old vessels with new ones of a similar size. However, it was clear at the time that there were no alternative propulsion solutions, especially for the large vessels, that we could invest in sustainably. To avoid losing more time on the path to decarbonisation, we considered where we could use a fully electric ship sustainably, also from an investment point of view. The result is the design of the MS INSEL MAINAU, which sails between Uhldingen, the island of Mainau, and the town of Meersburg.

 

However, we have never lost sight of the bigger picture – the decarbonisation of the entire fleet – and have continued to refine our concepts in parallel.

 

True to our motto: Think big, start somewhere!

 

Operational Efficiency: How does the operational profile of 15-minute crossings with quick turnaround times enhance the efficiency and attractiveness of your ferry services?

 

First and foremost, electric drives are significantly more effective, with much lower losses, than combustion engines. The efficiency of a modern all-electric drive system is around three times higher than that of a conventional diesel drive. Additionally, we had the ship’s lines optimised for our application using computational fluid design (CFD) to reduce the ship’s resistance and required propulsion power. The MS INSEL MAINAU can transport up to 300 passengers with just 2x60kW drive power.

 

As the distance to be travelled is relatively short, we decided to travel more slowly than before. The cruising speed has been reduced from 23 km/h to 15 km/h. This was another major gain in efficiency. Our passengers now have a wonderful little cruise: gliding across Lake Constance in complete peace and quiet, without any emissions. The new passenger compartments are designed to enhance this experience.

 

Charging Infrastructure: What were the key factors in setting up the 3MW transformer stations and quick-charging batteries for the e-LODI ferries?

 

The good results with the MS INSEL MAINAU, and further developments in battery technologies, motivated us to consider the electrification of other lines. The ferry operated by Stadtwerke Konstanz GmbH has a 15-minute crossing time, with an equivalent time for charging. Meanwhile, the fast-charging capability has developed to a point where it is possible to recharge the energy required for the crossing during cargo handling. Together with the required drive power, this necessitates a charging station capable of providing 3MW.

Sustainable Energy Solutions: Can you discuss the integration of the E-TABOR for Stadtwerke Konstanz GmbH system with solar power installations at gateways to Constance and how this contributes to the ferries’ energy needs?

 

The project would become really attractive if we were to cover the entire forecourt, which is already sealed with asphalt, with solar cells. These areas are so large that at peak times, i.e., under optimal conditions, they would cover the energy requirements of the ferries to be loaded. Even in less ideal conditions, a considerable proportion of the energy could still be generated on-site. It would also serve as a great new landmark for the city of Constance, which was the first to declare a climate emergency: The city’s gateway as a kind of solar tunnel via which I can enter the city by ferry.

 

We expect to produce 20-30% of the energy we need ourselves. We would still need to draw most of our energy from the grid. But since the entire country wants to become climate-neutral, energy production will also have to move towards renewable alternatives. Within our sphere of influence, we have done everything we can to turn the ferries climate-neutral.

 

Environmental Impact: What impact do you foresee the solar power installations and the battery system having on Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe’s carbon footprint?

 

For Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe (BSB), self-produced solar power holds secondary importance. BSB mainly operates on long routes with long harbour times and large ships. Additionally, we have a significant number of traditional ships that need to be preserved, as it is precisely because of them that guests come to the beautiful Lake Constance. The energy density of batteries is not sufficient in this context, and we have been investigating solutions involving hydrogen or methanol, which is a hydrogen carrier, for some time. Methanol, in particular, seems very interesting to us, and initial conversion concepts have already been developed. We are, of course, talking about green methanol here.

 

System Architecture Challenges: What are the biggest technical or logistical challenges you’ve faced while implementing the SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE E-TABOR for your ferries?

 

The biggest challenge has been and continues to be the charging infrastructure. We have to transfer 3MW of power in a short time, which cannot be done with a simple plug system. Therefore, we need to develop a special and certifiable solution for this. While the on-board systems are demanding, there are now standards that we can build on, making it somewhat easier to manage these complexities.

Policy and Economic Support: How critical is economic and political support for transforming Lake Constance into a model region for climate-neutral shipping?

 

This support is extremely important for us; we need it, it’s as simple as that. No shipping company is in a position to bear these high costs itself. Incentives in the form of support programs must be created. Currently, the funding rate for ship conversions is too low. For the MS INSEL MAINAU, it was just 9% of the total costs, for which we are really grateful, but that will not be enough for the larger projects. The funding rate for electric buses in Germany was once 80%, and the CO2 savings here are significantly lower. If we were to start talking about the costs of decarbonisation, i.e., where to get the CO2 reduced with as little money as possible, then we would very quickly end up with shipping and invest in a greener future here.

 

Long-Distance Decarbonisation: Could you elaborate on the methanol concept for decarbonising the entire BSB fleet and the timeline for its implementation?

 

Yes, methanol is the concept for our large vessels, while the smaller ones will be supplemented with fully electric ships. The goal is to decarbonise the entire fleet by 2035.

Vision for Future: What are your long-term goals for BSB in terms of technological advancements and fleet expansion?

 

We are not currently thinking about expanding the fleet, but are focused on how we can decarbonise the existing fleet and use it more effectively. We are always keeping our eyes open for new technological developments that we could leverage. However, we believe that development will move strongly in the direction of methanol drives, as major global players are already relying on this technology. What is primarily still missing is the necessary infrastructure.

 

Leadership Philosophy: What drives your passion for leading environmentally friendly transport solutions at Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH?

 

Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH operates shipping in Germany’s largest drinking water reservoir. Large parts of the shore regions are under nature conservation protection. BSB has voluntarily subjected itself to environmental certification for years, and the regulations for shipping have been leading in Germany for many years in terms of environmental protection. We have long been committed to these values, having put the first EUV-certified ship in Germany into operation on Lake Constance, and built a gas ferry that can be operated with BioLNG. Now, we want to play a pioneering role in the decarbonisation of German inland navigation. What could be better suited for this than the Lake Constance region? We want to be a role model and motivator for other shipping companies.

In Association with:

TECHNOLOG provides specialised maritime consultancy and engineering services, focusing on innovative ship design, marine consulting, and advanced maritime technology. Their expertise covers concept development, project implementation, conversion, and retrofitting of ships, ensuring high efficiency and compliance with industry standards. With over 30 years of experience, TECHNOLOG supports global clients with customized solutions for various maritime needs, from new builds to modifications.

https://www.technolog.biz/

Oceanco

Pioneering Sustainable Yachting: Insights from Arie Van Andel, CTO of Oceanco

Join us for an exclusive interview with Arie Van Andel, Chief Technology Officer at Oceanco, as he delves into the innovative strides the company is making in the realm of yacht design and technology. With a commitment to sustainability and cutting-edge advancements, Oceanco is at the forefront of creating eco-friendly and advanced superyachts. In this conversation, Arie shares his vision for the future, the integration of emerging technologies, and how Oceanco is navigating the challenges and opportunities within the maritime industry. Discover how Oceanco is shaping the future of yachting with groundbreaking designs and a steadfast commitment to sustainability.

 

Click below to access the digital version

Role and Vision: As the CTO of Oceanco, could you share how your role shapes the company’s vision and technological advancements in yacht design?

 

I don’t believe one person shapes the company’s vision and technological advancements, per se; but rather this stems from the company’s DNA, which we have articulated in our vision and mission statement. Our company’s vision is “to be the most exclusive builder of the world’s coolest yachts,” and our mission is “to create, deliver, and support innovative and uniquely designed, high-quality large yachts that are perfect for their visionary owners”.
Owners usually have a vision or dream of how they want their yacht to look and the experience they want it to deliver. It is up to us to interpret their wishes and to realise them in the physical form of a yacht that, once delivered, surpasses all expectations. This can only be achieved when our approach to design and technical systems – a core part of our DNA – is fundamentally innovative.

 

Since the earliest days of Oceanco, we have been privileged to collaborate with nonconformist owners and equally ambitious partners to push boundaries with our yachts. This has resulted in arguably the most impressive portfolio of innovation in the yachting industry. Projects like Black Pearl are a typical example where an owner’s distinct vision, Oceanco’s innovative essence, and the strong partnership with our Co-maker network converged with spectacularly innovative results. These achievements show the power of partnership, and we are thankful for everyone who has joined us on this journey.

 

Technology Integration: What are the latest technological innovations Oceanco has integrated into its yacht designs and how have they enhanced performance and luxury?

 

AI and machine learning are starting to play a beneficial role in how we engineer, build, and operate yachts. Interestingly, we are making the first steps towards predictive maintenance of yachts, which should allow us to reduce downtime—a significant benefit for owners and crew.

 

This new technological capability brings the potential to evaluate vast amounts of information more quickly, meaning we can gain better insight into the carbon footprint of our yachts throughout the building process and eventual lifecycle. With this data in place, we can narrow the gap between where we are today and where we want to be in a more efficient reality—bringing us ever closer to conscious construction.

 

We have been executing this on a current project, and the client has been extremely pleased to gain such a deep understanding of his yacht’s impact across both the build and subsequent life cycle.

Sustainability Focus: Oceanco has a commitment to sustainability. Can you discuss the technologies and practices you’ve implemented to make yachting more eco-friendly?

 

Sustainability in yachting has been a major focus for Oceanco for around a decade now; I would argue long before it entered the mainstream for our industry. We have advanced so much in the last decade that what was once considered more ‘out there’ is now the norm, and we are looking to even more exciting ways to futureproof our yachts for the duration of their lifecycle.

 

The introduction of hybrid propulsion systems has been the biggest game-changer. The addition of batteries to our superyachts’ technical systems allows for peak shaving, enabling more efficient energy usage. Electromotors have reduced unpleasant noise and vibration onboard, which is a high priority for most owners.

 

Here is a brief summary of some major projects we have delivered or developed over the last decade, relating specifically to sustainability in yachting:

 

BLACK PEARL

 

Our first flagship ‘sustainable’ project was the 106m sailing yacht Black Pearl, whose visionary owner wanted to build the most eco-conscious yacht possible. Probably her most interesting innovation is the ability to regenerate power through her sails. Her hybrid propulsion installation has two shaft lines, each with a controllable pitch propeller. In normal sailing mode, the propellers are set to minimise drag and prevent the shafts from turning. But to harvest some of that kinetic energy to be stored and used onboard, the pitch of the propellers is altered to create a lifting force as the water passes over them. This rotates the shafts, which are connected to a permanent magnet electric propulsion motor, effectively converting the wind energy that is moving Black Pearl through the water into electrical energy.

 

With the system reaching its full potential, Black Pearl is able to achieve a zero-emission transatlantic crossing where both propulsion and hotel services are powered by the wind alone. We are able to turn back the clock to a time when oceanic travel was emission-free, except now with all the comfort and luxury provided onboard a modern yacht.

 

LIFE DESIGN

 

Then came our LIFE Design approach – standing for Lengthened, Innovative layout, Fuel efficient, and Eco-conscious – successfully tackled with engineering partner Lateral. It was first used on the 109m (357ft) Bravo Eugenia, which we delivered in 2018. The team focused on hydrodynamics: The resistance performance of a yacht is significantly influenced by its length at the waterline and its weight. In naval architecture, we call this the ‘length displacement ratio.’ If you have two vessels of the same weight, the longer one will have a reduced overall demand for propulsion power, and consequently a reduced size of engine and related equipment is needed. It is a simple principle, but it is the fundamental foundation of LIFE Design. And in adopting a refined version of the hybrid propulsion system used for Black Pearl on Bravo Eugenia, even greater power advantages were conveyed to her over a conventional diesel-only system.

 

Thanks to LIFE Design, Bravo Eugenia’s technical space was reduced while the guest space was boosted to over 100sqm at the desirable waterline level. She exhibits best-in-class hydrodynamic efficiency and 30% less fuel usage compared to a conventional motoryacht of the same size. She also features a waste heat recovery system and integrated battery system to allow for optimal operation at all times.

 

Even though she can achieve speeds of up to 19 knots, Bravo Eugenia offers a relaxing setting for those onboard, thanks to reduced noise and vibration from the smaller propulsion-related equipment; and when entering ports, she goes into ‘whisper mode’ for ultimate guest comfort.

 

ENERGY TRANSITION PLATFORM

 

Of course, in yachting today, you can’t avoid the focus on the energy transition that’s happening – aka the move away from fossil fuels towards more eco-conscious alternatives. Future-proofing a yacht is the process of designing it to navigate this transition by anticipating the future to enable informed choices of layout, configuration, technology, and specification that will avoid obsolescence within the intended lifespan of the yacht.

 

Recently, we worked with long-term partners Lateral as well as MTU and ABB to develop a future-proofed system called the Energy Transition Platform (ETP), to ensure multiple technical pathways can be pursued as technologies mature during the energy transition timeline.

 

The ETP made its debut on Aeolus, a 131m Oceanco Tomorrow’s Design. Through its multi-stage adaptable approach, we have effectively future-proofed a path to zero emissions to minimise risk to our clients while also safeguarding the environment as best we can with the technology that will emerge as time goes on.

 

Since the ETP’s initial launch, the system has been adjusted and approved in principle by the ABS classification society for yachts with an LOA from 70m. This makes the ETP accessible for yachts of a considerably lower volume than other available methanol concepts and projects, allowing it to be adopted by a wide portion of the market, including Oceanco’s full range of offerings.

 

EFFICIENCY

 

And beyond looking to transition to these more sustainable kinds of fuels, efficiency has a vital part to play in reducing the industry’s impact, too. It’s something we’ve been considering at Oceanco for many years now. It doesn’t just mean the efficiency of the propulsion and naval architecture – it’s also the hotel load of our yachts, aka the power used by all the other systems onboard.

 

Efficiency is not just about reducing consumption but also minimising waste, like waste heat recovery, for example. This feeds back to my comment about AI and machine learning giving us a vastly increased capacity to analyse and improve what we are implementing on our yachts in a faster and more efficient way.

 

Challenges in Innovation: What are the biggest challenges you face when integrating new technologies into custom yacht builds, and how do you overcome them?

 

None of us can solve today’s challenges – such as sustainability and circularity – on our own. We need to collaborate within our networks and across industries, sharing knowledge to reduce risk and avoid reinventing the wheel.

 

At Oceanco, we have a vision for creating a more sustainable future through various designs and concepts that have already been revealed; but there remain some challenges in technology readiness, maturity, and the scale of commercial availability required for integration into a project. To overcome this, we have worked with partners to create the Energy Transition Platform (ETP), as outlined above, where we equip today’s yachts with matured, advanced, and readily available technology while allowing for future upgrades when new technology has matured.

 

In addition, whereas in the past, innovation was often made possible by improving one technical area at a time, today we can make even more impactful advances through integrated technological systems that draw from all kinds of disciplines. As a yacht builder, this makes it even more important for us to have a clear vision for innovation and to manage the process well.

Collaborations: Could you highlight any significant partnerships with tech firms or designers that have influenced Oceanco’s technological advancements?

 

Collaboration and partnership have always been major drivers of our innovation at Oceanco. The achievements of Black Pearl and Bravo Eugenia would never have been possible without our close work with partners such as naval architects, electrical integrators, and key equipment suppliers to develop integrated solutions. Through the development of the Energy Transition Platform (ETP), we were able to go one step further by bringing together disciplines that don’t usually meet on a project, let alone share knowledge and ideas.

 

Client Customisation Process: How does technology enable Oceanco to meet the unique demands and visions of your clients during the customisation process?

 

Undoubtedly, our clients continue to challenge us in areas that are simply not possible with current applications of technology, which drives us toward innovation.

 

New technologies are allowing us to better visualise what the owner’s yacht will be like, which certainly helps in achieving their goals and visions.

Future Technology Trends: Which emerging technology trends do you believe will significantly impact the super yacht industry in the next decade?

 

With pressure from all directions to switch to a more sustainable way of operating yachts, the energy transition will undoubtedly have a major impact. We are only just beginning to see the benefits that AI might have on how we build and operate our yachts, as referred to above. It’s a dynamic and exciting time to be involved in the technological side of yachting, for sure.

 

Career Insights: With your extensive experience in the industry, what advice would you give to young engineers aspiring to work in yacht design and technology?

 

Since the onset of the industrial revolution, there has never been a period of time where the contribution of engineers has been so needed – in resolving global community challenges and contributing to corporate responsibility. Now comes the ultimate moment for engineers to stand up and develop the solutions that are vital for our future. Our world, our very existence, lies in the hands of our engineers. This is even more true for yachting, which should be pioneering the change to more sustainable and circular solutions.

Impact of Digital Tools: How have digital tools and simulations changed the way Oceanco designs and tests new yacht concepts?

 

Our newly developed tool for carbon footprint analysis of our yachts is a prime example, helping us assess both the build process and the life cycles after delivery.

 

Furthermore, digital tools have significantly improved the efficiency of our engineering and production processes. As skilled labour, knowledge, and craftsmanship become increasingly scarce, we rely more on digital tools, automation, and robotics to fill these gaps and ensure precision and quality in our work.

 

Vision for Oceanco’s Future: Looking ahead, what are your strategic goals for Oceanco’s technological development, and what should clients and industry watchers expect next?

 

Oceanco will remain an industry pioneer and strongly push to develop sustainable yachting, based upon the principle of design for transition. This commitment goes beyond the sustainability and circularity of the yachts themselves – it extends to our own practices. We will continue to focus on bringing down the footprint of our building process by reducing waste, upcycling materials, making our facilities more energy efficient, and reducing the use of sensitive materials. Our ultimate aim is to reduce the environmental footprint of both our products and our business. You can find out more about our dedicated sustainability action plan:

 

https://www.oceancoyacht.com/sustainability/

BW LPG

Procurement Excellence in the Maritime Industry: Insights from Rick Ackermann at BW LPG

Rick Ackermann, Head of Procurement at BW LPG, brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to the table, steering the procurement department of one of the leading LPG shipping companies. In this exclusive interview, Rick shares his approach to enhancing procurement efficiency, integrating sustainability, and navigating the complexities of the global market. Discover his insights on building supplier relationships, leveraging technology, and the future trends poised to reshape the procurement landscape in the maritime industry. Join us as Rick delves into the principles that guide his leadership and the innovative initiatives driving BW LPG’s procurement success.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Role Overview: Could you describe your role as the Head of Procurement at BW LPG and the primary responsibilities it entails?

 

At BW LPG, the Head of Procurement is responsible for all procurement of goods and services, as well as being involved in all dry dockings. We have a team of four buyers and a Logistics Coordinator in Manila, and two buyers in Oslo. The Head of Procurement is stationed in Singapore. The main goal is to be a solid business partner for the business, which entails working closely with the Technical and Operations teams. Key activities include contract management, inventory management, innovation, ESG, and maintaining best-in-class procurement practices to provide the highest added value for BW LPG.

 

Strategic Procurement Initiatives: What are the key strategic initiatives you have implemented in BW LPG’s procurement practices since assuming your role?

 

Short and sweet:

  • Value Chain: From day one, I have moved the role of Procurement higher up the value chain. The traditional view of Procurement has changed from a Purchasing department into a strategic business partner.
  • Transparency: In the past, it wasn’t always clear what Procurement did and what people could expect from our department. I have changed our procedures and setup in such a way that it is very transparent on every level. I also changed the perception that Procurement is a group of people taking care of things. We are all part of the Procurement process.
  • Contract Management: We purchased a very intuitive contract management system (Scanmarket), which is easily accessible and currently contains over 170 contracts that we have in place.
  • ESG: I have invested a lot of effort into ESG in our supply chain. This varies from introducing the Supplier Code of Ethics in all of our agreements and purchase orders to plastics reduction programs on board our vessels.
  • Group Procurement: I started a collaboration team with the Heads of Procurement of the other BW entities. Procurement has transformed from a central procurement department in Oslo to a decentralised setup around the world. By collaborating on volumes, best practices, and innovation, we have migrated into a hybrid solution.

Challenges in Procurement: What are the most significant challenges you face in procurement for an LPG shipping company, and how do you address them?

 

From a procurement perspective, we would like to be as efficient as possible. Planning of transports is very challenging in our industry, as the port of delivery for our goods and services is sometimes changing on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this means that we have to airfreight a lot of our spare parts, which has a negative impact on our carbon footprint.

 

Another challenge everybody faces in shipping, which makes it more fun at the same time, is that this is a very conservative industry. As a standard, the credo is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” This means that driving innovation is upstream, and solutions found in other industries still have to be introduced in shipping. The fun part is convincing people and the fact that there is still room for improvement.

 

Supplier Relationships: How do you cultivate effective supplier relationships to ensure seamless operations and business continuity at BW LPG?

 

In order to do that, I still rely on the Kraljic matrix. It is a well-known tool to classify the importance of suppliers products and services, and is very effective when it comes to supplier positioning, criticality analysis, and quadrant strategy. As a basis, you should figure out what kind of relationship you have or need to have with a supplier or partner. You then make sure that you assign the right buyer to the right quadrant and thus supplier. Not doing this correctly could potentially damage the relationship and therefore our position. Setting this up in the right way tremendously influences our position and leverage. Above all, whatever you do and in whatever position you are in with regards to the supplier, respect is always the keyword.

Technology in Procurement: Can you discuss the role of technology in enhancing procurement efficiency and transparency at BW LPG?

 

Especially with regards to the operational part of the procurement process, there are some quick wins when it comes to the role of technology. As we digitise the purchasing role, we can introduce innovations and efficiency improvements. We are, for example, introducing Amazon-type platforms with certain suppliers for technical stores and PPE, such as Source 2 Sea, which makes it easier for the crew on board our vessels to simply click on the picture of the parts or equipment they need. Also benchmarking and forecasting through Closelink for Lube Oil is a new development which we embraced. The role of Procurement is to facilitate this – we can help organise the financial back office, monitor deviations, and take on the more mundane tasks so that our colleagues at sea can focus on the strategic issues and flawless operations. Another major step we are currently investigating is the introduction of new technology regarding inventory management. Together with one of our partners in freight forwarding, Marinetrans, we are developing an inventory management platform, eSeastore, that will give us the tools to plan based on stock levels and have sophisticated tools on board to maintain stock on the vessel. This is a very exciting project.

 

Sustainability Practices: How does BW LPG integrate sustainability into its procurement processes, especially considering the environmental impact of shipping?

 

We have the Supplier Code of Ethics as an integral part of everything we do. In addition to this, we are increasingly choosing sustainable solutions for parts and services in different regions of the world. There is a lot more work that we can do on the sustainability front, and we are working hard to improve both individually as a company, and with partners. One example of the latter would be us working with our suppliers to reduce single-use plastics in our victuals.

Impact of Global Markets: How do global economic conditions and market fluctuations impact your procurement strategies?

 

Obviously, they do, and they disrupt anything that we plan or forecast. I mean, who was counting on COVID-19? Or the political uncertainties in many parts of the world? The blockage of the Suez Canal? Drought at the Panama Canal, etc. The good thing is that we know we are very creative when it comes to problem-solving. Yes, we like to plan as much as possible, but we are agile and switch gears when necessary and required.

 

Future Procurement Trends: What emerging trends do you see in procurement that could significantly impact the LPG shipping industry in the coming years?

 

From a leverage point of view, unfortunately, increasingly I see large companies buying out the smaller ones, which impacts our ability to leverage in certain parts of the supply chain. This is not a good development.

 

The two biggest trends, however, are undoubtedly in ESG and AI.

 

I strongly believe and hope that in a few years’ we will have surpassed the awareness phase of ESG and that there will be more regulation and certification, making it a lot easier for all companies to determine, on the basis of a standard, who to work with. ISO did the same thing for business processes in the 1980s.

 

Artificial Intelligence is an absolute game changer in any business. A lot of our repetitive activities will be taken over by AI, but also market analytics, supplier dashboards, forecasting, and reporting will be a lot easier and faster. Is this a threat to our procurement existence? Not at all, it simply means that we have more time for actual procurement activities instead of creating tools to help us do just that.

In Association with:

Jotun is a global leader in paints and coatings, providing high-quality solutions for homes, buildings, and industrial applications. With nearly a century of experience, Jotun focuses on sustainability and innovation to protect property and enhance aesthetic appeal. Their products cater to various sectors including architecture, infrastructure, marine, and energy, ensuring durability and performance in all environments.

https://www.jotun.com/

Closelink GmbH is a Hamburg-based maritime tech company focused on setting new standards in the procurement of marine lubricants. Through its digital platform and customized services, Closelink offers innovative solutions to build a resilient procurement strategy and generate tangible cost savings. Closelink’s intuitive platform enhances inventory monitoring, planning, ordering, and reporting. The platform automates real-time data collection and offers analytics tools and insights, making it easier for users to make informed decisions.

https://www.closelink.com/

Epsco Cyprus Ltd specialises in maritime safety and security services, providing comprehensive solutions including fleet safety service contracts, lifeboat and diving services, and safety equipment maintenance. Established in 1995, they support over 3,000 vessels annually with a global network of 350+ service stations. Epsco ensures compliance with IMO and SOLAS regulations, enhancing safety and operational efficiency for the maritime industry.

https://www.epscocy.com/

Marinetrans specializes in global logistics for marine spares, providing efficient door-to-deck solutions since 1991. They offer services including consolidation, collection, transport, documentation, shipping, tracking, and on-board delivery. With a robust global network, they ensure reliable and cost-effective logistics for various types of vessels. Their expertise and comprehensive services make them a trusted partner in the maritime industry.

https//marinetrans.com

MCT Consultancy (MCTC) is a global leader in maritime catering management and training, providing healthy meals and comprehensive support to vessels worldwide. They specialize in culinary excellence, supply chain management, and tailored services for galley staff. MCTC’s expert team offers continuous professional development, ensuring high standards and exceptional dining experiences on board.

https://mctconsultancy.com

Source2Sea offers a digital marketplace for maritime supplies, streamlining the procurement process for vessels. Their platform provides transparent pricing, detailed product specifications, and easy online ordering, reducing order cycle time from 35 hours to 1 hour. With integration to leading Fleet Management Systems, Source2Sea ensures efficiency and convenience in sourcing provisions, deck, and cabin supplies across a vast port network.

https://www.source2sea.com/

Port of London Authority

Steering Towards Innovation: Insights from Steven Clapperton on Marine Operations and Sustainability at the Port of London

Join us as we engage in an insightful conversation with Steven Clapperton, Director of Marine Operations at the Port of London Authority (PLA). With an extensive background in marine operations, Steven shares his vision for the future of the UK’s largest port by tonnage, exploring key initiatives like the Marine Centre Transformation Programme and workforce development strategies. Additionally, Grace Rawnsley, Director of Sustainability, provides her perspective on the PLA’s robust approach to sustainability, highlighting their efforts to decarbonise operations and promote environmental stewardship within the maritime community. Discover how the PLA is navigating the complex waters of modern maritime challenges and driving forward a sustainable future for the Thames.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Role and Experience: With your extensive background in marine operations, how do you see your experience shaping the future direction of the Port of London?

 

As the largest port (by tonnage) in the UK, the Port of London Authority (PLA) has a strong vision for the future, neatly summed up in our strategy Thames Vision 2050, which we launched in 2022. Being the busiest inland waterway, with both growing trade and sporting activity on the river, we are a stakeholder-led organisation and work to keep the commercial and leisure users safe, to protect and enhance the environment, and to promote the use of the river for trade and travel.

 

Coming from a sea-going background (with experience in marine consultancy, pilotage, VTS, and managing operations, both directly in the shipping sector and in the oil and gas sector), there is a direct link to what I’ve done previously to our future ambitions at the PLA.

 

One of the fantastic things about the PLA is that it’s an organisation with employee development and lifelong learning at its heart. I’m now in a position where I can influence employee development at the PLA and start to create opportunities for the next generation of port employees, whatever they look like. For example, for those who would like a career afloat, we’ve got a very clear career path, from entry right through to Master on workboats, and this has been well-received by Trade Union representatives as well as colleagues.

Marine Centre Transformation Programme: How does the Marine Centre Transformation Programme, which includes the Vessel Traffic Services Upgrade, align with Thames Vision 2050, and what impacts do you anticipate on PLA’s operations?

 

We’ve got an incredibly strong growth path at the PLA and by 2050, we anticipate our cargo movements growing from 55 million tonnes to approximately 75-80 million tonnes. Passengers on the Thames and light freight activities will also double. Yet the size of the waterway will remain static. So, it’s a constrained waterway, with competing demands, and it is only going to get busier.

 

Therefore, a recent and ongoing upgrade of our Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) system is very much focused on the safety of navigation; we’re looking to the future of VTS to how we manage increasing constraints and competing demands on the waterways.

 

We did an extensive procurement process; one of the key inputs into our decision-making was to select a VTS system provider that had a strong technology roadmap, which was aligned with our long-term vision for VTS and vessel operations. We know that remote vessel operations and greater use of technology, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), are coming, and we knew if we couldn’t be future-proofed right now, we needed to work with a provider with a similar long-term vision to ours.

 

Our £10 million Marine Centre Transformation Programme is the largest investment in our safety of navigation services in over a decade. Our approach to the programme has been with safety of navigation as the forefront focus. We recognized our VTS needed replacing, that our Port Control Centre building was nearing the end of its life, and the operating model, although perfectly acceptable in the ‘here and now,’ wasn’t going to be suitable to support the future growth plans that our customers have. That’s what led to the development.

 

The outcomes that we are looking for are focused on one port, one river. With a continued emphasis on safety in navigation, we want to build a model that can respond to continued growth of trade on the river, aligned with our Thames Vision, as well as cope with the increased passenger and cargo vessel requirements in this constrained waterway.

Challenges and Workforce Development: What are the biggest challenges currently facing marine operations at PLA, and how are you addressing them, particularly in terms of workforce development and team leadership?

 

One of the biggest challenges is in adopting alternative fuels. In 2023, we transitioned our extensive vessel fleet from diesel to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). We’re conscious that HVO is very much a transition fuel, and the supply chain will come under increasing amounts of pressure and so the cost will rise. We’re happy to absorb that cost in the short term because we recognize the importance of decarbonising our own operations. However, to maintain our fleet into the 2030s and 2040s, we are going to have to transition to something completely different.

 

We’ve always taken the position that we don’t plan to offset carbon emissions, so we effectively need zero-carbon propulsion fuel systems: perhaps hydrogen-based or some mix of alternative fuels. In preparation for this, between 2025 and 2028, we will operate the first Zero Emissions, hydrogen-powered, remotely operated surveying vessel, and we expect to learn a lot from that.

 

Another challenge is the skills and workforce we need for the future. Historically, our marine employees came from marine backgrounds, and from the communities they served. However, the world has changed quite significantly in the last 20 years, and so the marine and port sector is no longer as consistently as an attractive place as we’d like it to be. That together with the changing place of technology means that we are not entirely sure what the employees of the future will look like, or the skills that they are expected to have.

 

However, we are putting mechanisms in place just now to identify those individuals and create partnerships to develop skills, promoting the port sector as a great place to work. We have a graduate scheme (marine engineering, civil engineering, harbour master and hydro), and we have long had an apprenticeship scheme. This year, we’re going to be adding to our roll of apprentices.

 

Collaborations and Partnerships: Can you discuss any significant collaborations or partnerships PLA is currently involved in or exploring?

 

We have a strong and very well-established academic partnership with University College London, which works very well for both parties. Businesses partnering with academia gives rigour, strength, and, for us, we get access to some incredible people, who can then trial academic work on real-world conditions. Our latest project is a four-year PhD to develop a Port of London digital twin.

Advice for Maritime Professionals: What advice would you offer to professionals looking to advance in the maritime industry based on your experience?

 

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic senior leaders throughout my career, and one piece of advice that someone gave me early on was never to turn down a development opportunity, regardless of how relevant it seems to where you are now. I’m a great advocate of lifelong learning and have taken every piece of training and development opportunity that has been offered to me, and I’d encourage everyone to do the same.

 

Sustainability Initiatives: As a finalist/winner for the maritime UK’s Clean Maritime Operator award, how do you describe the PLA’s approach to sustainability?

Answered by Director of Sustainability, Grace Rawnsley

 

We approach it in three ways. Firstly, we consider it in terms of our own internal operations, making those as sustainable as they can be. That covers everything from being impeccable on our carbon footprint, to measuring all our emissions, and having a robust plan to reduce those emissions (including Scope 1, 2, and 3), to ensuring our operations don’t create negative impacts within the river. It is an internal focus in the first instance as it is an important value for our organisation: it keeps us current, future-proofed, and demonstrates that we lead by example.

 

The second way we approach sustainability is by looking at our wider reach; the community that is the Port of London. There are 70 different terminal operators across our 95-mile stretch of the tidal Thames, and hundreds of individual vessel operators as well. As the port authority for this community, we look at how we effectively use our influence, our relationships, and convening power to progress sustainability and drive forward positive change. We do that across a range of subject areas, including decarbonisation, biodiversity, conservation, water quality, and air quality. It is a really positive element of what we do.

 

The community understands that sustainability is here to stay, and they are making impactful strides on sustainability. For example, Cory has a Carbon Capture and Storage project, creating the UK’s largest single-site energy-from-waste (EfW) operation, with the potential to create the world’s largest single-site EfW decarbonisation project; London Gateway’s berth 4 is due to be operational by the end of the year and will be its first zero emissions berth; some vessel operators already have electric-powered vessels; and we’re receiving more requests from owners of river walls who are looking at implementing biodiversity projects. We’re seeing it take off, and we’re doing as much as possible with our coalition to make it as real as possible.

 

At the Port of London, we’re looking at how best we can help reduce the obstacles to make the decarbonisation journey faster and easier for those individual companies, such as data gathering exercises, like our Maritime Emissions Portal (MEP portal), lobbying government for changes in regulation, or hard thinking about the solutions that are needed.

 

Then the third way is how the port supports the sustainability transition on a wider scale for the UK. As the largest port, we’re able to take a leading role in terms of sustainability, such as how to meet the demand for future fuels, the import routes, and how we manage large-scale biodiversity initiatives. We’re looking at how we can support decarbonisation in general, such as our Hydrogen Highway, leading a new consortium aiming to develop a UK hydrogen highway network which consists of land, sea and ports. Electric Thames is another innovative project that we’re involved in; not only looking at what grid capacity is required to support the electrification of vessels, but also what can vessels do from a battery storage perspective, feeding back into the grid.

 

As a Trust port, we are determined to hand the tidal Thames on in a better condition to future generations, and we’re focussed on our vision for the Thames (Thames Vision 2050), supporting sustainable development and accelerating decarbonisation.

 

https://pla.co.uk/

Wärtsilä Marine

Wartsila

Fueling the Future: Wärtsilä’s Pioneering Path to Maritime Decarbonisation

In an era where the maritime industry stands at a crucial crossroads between tradition and the imperative drive for sustainability, Wärtsilä emerges as a leader in innovation. Guided by Roger Holm, President of Wärtsilä Marine & Executive Vice President at Wärtsilä Corporation, the company is steering the global maritime sector towards a greener horizon with groundbreaking advancements in sustainable fuels and decarbonisation technologies. In this Q&A, Roger Holm unveils the pioneering strides Wärtsilä is making with methanol and ammonia-powered engines, highlighting their pivotal role in propelling the industry towards the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Join us as we delve into the future of marine propulsion, exploring Wärtsilä’s commitment to fuel flexibility, emission reduction, and the collaborative efforts shaping the sustainable transformation of maritime logistics.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Innovation in Methanol Engines: With Wärtsilä’s recent introduction of four methanol engines, how do you see this innovation accelerating the marine industry’s transition to sustainable fuels?

 

Methanol stands out as a crucial alternative fuel choice for achieving the industry’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. What makes methanol promising is its versatility and compatibility with existing shipping infrastructure: it can be produced using renewable energy sources and carbon capture technology, ensuring it’s not only sustainable, but also carbon neutral.

 

Wärtsilä is one of the few marine engine builders with experience in methanol engines, having converted the first of four engines on the ferry Stena Germanica, which embarked on the world’s first methanol-powered sailings in 2015. What’s more, the Wärtsilä 32 Methanol engine and MethanolPac, both launched in 2022, were amongst one of the first commercially available solutions for using methanol as a fuel in the maritime industry.

 

Wärtsilä’s recent introduction of four methanol engines marks a significant milestone in the marine industry’s pathway to sustainability. By expanding our methanol engine offerings across various vessel types, we are enabling shipowners to proceed with the flexibility they need to transition towards cleaner operations. Our commitment to developing engines capable of running on future fuels underscores our dedication to supporting the maritime industry’s journey towards sustainability.

Ammonia as a Marine Fuel: Wärtsilä has launched the world’s first 4-stroke engine-based ammonia solution. What challenges did you face in developing this technology, and how does it set the pace for marine decarbonisation?

 

Developing an ammonia-based solution for marine propulsion represents a significant leap in the industry’s drive for sustainable maritime fuels. There were, however, many important considerations taken into account during its development, particularly around fuel combustion, safety, and emissions management.

 

Ammonia combustion poses hurdles due to its ignition characteristics and energy density compared to conventional fuels like diesel. Ammonia has a lower volumetric efficiency, meaning larger fuel tanks and storage systems are needed for these engines than on vessels using traditional propulsion systems. The additional infrastructure, such as volume of fuel tanks, may have implications for cargo capacity such as on container vessels, or on operating ranges before the need for bunkering.

 

Another consideration for ammonia is handling potential nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, which requires designing efficient aftertreatment catalysts and systems to minimise these emissions. Optimised combustion and integrated aftertreatment, as is found in the Wärtsilä 25 ammonia solution, has been shown to minimise all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

With appropriate forward planning however, these considerations can be mitigated, especially for newbuilds where additional storage capacity can be more easily accounted for.

 

Outside of the direct energy efficiency and emissions consideration, ensuring safety in handling ammonia is critical. Ammonia’s toxicity means specialised storage and handling equipment needed to be developed, alongside the appropriate crew training to ensure those handling the fuel properly understands how to mitigate any risks effectively.

 

Wärtsilä’s new WARMS technology (Wärtsilä Ammonia Release Mitigation System) mitigates the risks associated with ammonia as a future maritime fuel, ensuring safety and environmental protection with minimal emissions. Accurate monitoring, controlled combustion, and preventing the release of vented ammonia into the atmosphere means WARMS offers a green and safe alternative to traditional methods of handling ammonia.

 

With the technology available, and growing ammonia fuel supply infrastructure around the world, viable alternative fuel options significantly contribute to the industry’s transition towards decarbonisation and cleaner energy sources.

Reducing Methane Emissions: The new version of the Wärtsilä 31DF engine significantly reduces methane emissions. Can you elaborate on the technological advancements that made this possible?

 

Sustainable fuels are crucial to the maritime decarbonisation journey. But, the cost, limited available quantities, and insufficient supply infrastructure of these fuels today present a challenge for ship operators. The continued expansion of the LNG fuel infrastructure is an important factor in shipping’s transition towards cleaner operations. After all, compared to fuel oil, LNG enables lower GHG emissions and reduces other harmful air pollutant emissions.

 

However, the main component of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is methane and when you burn LNG as a fuel, a very small amount may not combust properly, leading to methane escaping into the atmosphere.

 

Reducing methane slip in engines running on LNG has been a crucial step in developing our decarbonisation portfolio, helping the global fleet mitigate the impact of running on this transition fuel. Through the development of new combustion technologies, our 30-year commitment to reducing methane slip has resulted in an impressive circa 90% reduction in our engines.

 

The Wärtsilä 31DF engine is a concrete step towards an ultra-low emission engine that can help future-proof vessels leveraging LNG as a fuel. While the standard Wärtsilä 31DF already evidenced the lowest emissions on the market, the latest modifications focus on ultra-low methane emissions and can reduce methane emissions by an additional 41%. This is all while maintaining the same high-power output and performance, and simultaneously reducing nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions by 86%.

 

The new version, which is applied on one of the four engines on board Wasaline’s Aurora Botnia ferry, has already helped the Finnish-Swedish ferry operator further reduce the Aurora Botnia’s methane emissions by 10 percent. As part of the EU co-funded Green Ray and SeaTech projects, Wärtsilä piloted the ultra-low emissions concept onboard the Aurora Botnia with exceptional results verified through an independent study conducted in December 2022 by VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland. Encouraged by the positive results, Wärtsilä launched the new ultra-low emissions version of the Wärtsilä 31DF engine to the commercial market in 2023.

 

As the industry advances its decarbonisation journey, it is vital to continue to focus on reducing methane emissions. Because we recognise the significant importance, Wärtsilä is committed to reducing methane emissions from its engines even further with investment in R&D and technology, as well as through more collaboration projects.

Fuel Flexibility Importance: Given the current uncertainties around fuel availability and price, how does Wärtsilä’s focus on fuel flexibility benefit your clients and the broader maritime industry?

 

With stringent emissions reduction targets, operators face increasing pressure to transition to cleaner fuels and technologies, with adaptability being a key solution. Wärtsilä’s investment in fuel-flexible engines and technologies enables its customers to comply with evolving regulations without the risk. Fuel flexibility ensures that vessels remain compliant with changing regulatory standards in the long term, protecting against high retrofit costs in the short term, and importantly reduces the commercial risk of noncompliant vessels.

 

Fuel prices and availability can fluctuate significantly due to geopolitical factors, investment in green corridors, supply chain disruptions, and market dynamics. Engines capable of operating on multiple fuel types, including traditional marine fuels alongside LNG, biofuels, methanol, and ammonia, means that Wärtsilä provides fleet operators with the flexibility to diversify against price and supply volatility in any one fuel type. This versatility allows operators to choose the most cost-effective and readily available fuel option at any given time, which is key for vessels operating on routes without consistent access to certain alternative and future fuels.

 

Similarly, fuel flexibility ensures that vessels remain viable and competitive long term in the face of shifting market trends and emerging technologies. As the industry transitions towards decarbonisation, the availability and cost-effectiveness of alternative fuels are expected to evolve. This empowers fleets to future-proof their investments by enabling seamless transitions to cleaner fuels as they become more economically viable and widely available. This proactive approach minimises the risk of asset devaluation and ensures that vessels remain relevant and competitive throughout their operational lifespan.

 

The industry is aligning towards certain future fuels, mainly the promising front runners such as methanol and ammonia, which offer low-carbon and carbon-neutral energy sources depending on the production method. By offering engines capable of utilising these fuels alongside conventional diesel, Wärtsilä facilitates industry’s efforts to reduce its environmental footprint and meet tightening decarbonisation targets. This proactive stance not only enhances environmental sustainability but also enhances the reputation and market positioning of owners and operators, who stand to be in a competitive advantage.

Collaboration with Viridis Bulk Carriers: Can you discuss the significance of Wärtsilä’s collaboration with Viridis Bulk Carriers and how it exemplifies the practical application of your ammonia solution in the industry?

 

Viridis Bulk Carriers have the ambition to be the world’s first zero emission shipping company, and as part of that strategy, will be the first shipowner to benefit from Wärtsilä’s new ammonia solution. The collaboration will show how ammonia solutions are practically viable and available for owners and operators planning for decarbonised solutions.

 

A key barrier to the wider uptake of future fuel systems is the uncertainty in which fuel will become dominant in the future, both in the commercial cost parity to conventional fuels, supply, and availability in infrastructure. Shipping companies which take the initiative and publicly commit to these new fuel systems help lead the industry into a phase of greater confidence in these solutions. It is important that more leaders and innovators across the industry adopt these solutions to boost confidence, and ultimately, take-up of technology to drive decarbonisation even faster.

Sustainable Shipping Operations: How do Wärtsilä’s innovations in methanol and ammonia-powered engines contribute to the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the maritime sector by 2050?

 

Wärtsilä’s latest advancements in methanol and ammonia-powered engines contribute significantly to the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions. Both methanol and ammonia are promising alternatives to traditional fossil fuels because they produce lower greenhouse gas emissions on a tank-to-wake basis.

 

Ammonia on the other hand, produces no CO2 emissions when combusted, making the fuel a key component in achieving net-zero carbon emissions when produced using sustainable methods. There are greater challenges in the adoption of ammonia, notably in the storage and handling, however with forward planning ammonia can be suitable for a range of vessel types.

 

Looking at the sustainability of fuels on a well-to-wake basis, the reduction in GHG emissions is highest when utilising green methanol and green ammonia. The method of production, in the case of ‘green’ fuels, which uses renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power is essential when considering the overall carbon intensity of a particular fuel type.

 

Wärtsilä has introduced commercially available engine-based solutions for both ammonia and methanol fuels. The Wärtsilä 25 engine platform now includes an ammonia solution, allowing ships to run on this alternative fuel. Similarly, the Wärtsilä 32 Methanol engine provides a reliable option for vessels powered by methanol.

 

Both ammonia and methanol solutions offered by Wärtsilä meet current and future emissions regulations, including those set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), ensuring that ships using these fuels can navigate regulatory requirements in the long-term.

Future-Proof Engine Platforms: Wärtsilä’s engine platforms are designed to be future-proof. How do you balance the need for immediate sustainability with the flexibility to adapt to future green fuels?

 

Due to the uncertainty around which future fuel is likely to become widespread, both in its availability and cost effectiveness, owners and operators must play a balancing act between long-term viability and immediate decarbonisation in the here and now. Forward-thinkers in the industry are already adopting engines capable of running on these future fuels with an increasingly large portion of fuel flexible vessels being ordered as newbuilds and for retrofit. However, there is still lots of work to do to help most of the fleet implement immediate decarbonisation solutions.

 

Although investing fully in a low-carbon or zero-carbon fuel, such as ammonia, is one of the fastest methods to decarbonisation, operators are understandably hesitant to go all-in on one fuel considering the possible risks such as fuel availability along routes.

 

Offering flexible options is the best way to balance short-term and long-term needs. Investing in fuel flexible options will mitigate market fluctuations, and infrastructure and supply risks to enable operators to utilise whichever fuel is most viable at that moment on a certain route. This provides operators with the flexibility to mitigate any risks that would come with betting on a single fuel source solution.

 

In the long-term, these vessels will be futureproofed against more stringent regulations, while simultaneously able to easily convert to whichever frontrunner fuel comes out on top in the next decade and beyond.

Role of LNG in Decarbonisation: With the advancements in reducing methane slip, what role do you see LNG playing in the short to medium term in the industry’s decarbonisation efforts?

 

LNG presents a viable solution for achieving environmental goals in the short to medium term. With increasing regulatory pressure, the key advantage of investing in an LNG capable engine is that it sets you on a path from a technological and operational perspective, to progressively transition to cleaner fuels, to adopt blends, and eventually to do a fuel conversion to ammonia or methanol, for example.

 

However, one of the significant challenges associated with LNG is methane slip. Methane has a high global warming potential – greater in potency than CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) – making it essential to address to help ensure LNG’s long-term viability as a marine fuel. As previously mentioned, Wärtsilä has made significant strides in this area, reducing methane slip by around 90% over the past three decades through engine upgrades and ongoing research and development efforts.

 

Ultimately, LNG is a transition fuel that is helping the industry advance further forward in its sustainability – but it is the start of the journey towards decarbonised shipping. The long-term goal for the industry is to have zero impact on the environment. That is where we need to go as an industry.

Impact of New Technologies on Existing Fleets: How does Wärtsilä support the adaptation of its new sustainable technologies in existing fleets, particularly in terms of retrofitting?

 

Existing vessels, particularly bulkers, oil tankers, and container ships, face significant challenges in meeting IMO’s (International Maritime Organisation) CII (Carbon Intensity Indicator) targets. Over one-third are currently non-compliant, with projections indicating a worsening trend. Retrofitting with energy-saving technologies is crucial to improve CII ratings and extend vessel lifespans. Investment in decarbonisation technologies is needed to prevent the stranding of especially older vessels aged 10-15 years. Retrofit capabilities offer a pathway to sustainability without compromising business success, addressing the imminent threat of non-compliance and facilitating lower GHG emissions.

 

At Wärtsilä, we offer comprehensive fuel conversion solutions, acknowledging the increasing variety of available fuels. These include retrofit options for both 4-stroke and 2-stroke engines, capable of operating on LNG, methanol, or ammonia. These options can allow seamless transition to different fuel types without interruption in power generation. Comprehensive feasibility studies for vessel owners contemplating the transition to alternative fuels can provide insights into necessary modifications, cost estimates, and risk assessments, empowering informed decision-making for sustainable operations.

 

Our propulsion solutions are focused on delivering the highest efficiency, helping to reduce a ship’s energy consumption and save fuel, whilst our data, AI and voyage solutions are designed to connect and optimise the entire ecosystem, from propellers to ports and beyond, improving efficiency, and cutting fuel costs and GHG emissions.

 

What’s more, our hybrid solutions also offer reduced emissions for both retrofit and newbuild vessels. Hybrid vessels combine two methods of propulsion, a conventional combustion engine and a rechargeable battery. This reduces fuel consumption and increases operational efficiency, among other benefits. Ultimately, our hybrid solutions provide a solid starting point for creating a flexible vessel, which is able to operate at an optimal load and adaptable for any future requirements within its lifetime.

 

In addition to fuel flexibility, onboard carbon capture systems offer a potent solution by capturing CO2 emissions directly from exhaust gases and storing them underground or repurposing them for other industrial processes. These systems, which Wärtsilä hopes to be available for both retrofit installations and newbuilds, significantly reduce a vessel’s carbon footprint.

Vision for Marine Industry’s Future: Looking beyond 2050, what is your vision for the marine industry’s energy transition, and how is Wärtsilä positioning itself to lead in this evolving landscape?

 

In projecting the future of the marine industry’s energy transition beyond 2050, Wärtsilä recognises the pivotal role of the wider supply chain. As an industry responsible for transporting over 80% of world trade, maritime shipping serves as the lifeblood of the global economy.

 

However, there lies the challenge of meeting the increasing demand for capacity while aligning with sustainability goals. And time is of the essence here. In just 25 years – the lifetime of a single vessel – shipping must eliminate its entire contribution to climate change.

 

Wärtsilä understands that the evolution of the maritime sector hinges upon collaborative efforts across the entire ecosystem. Our commitment to innovation and sustainability underscores our vision to support the industry’s sustainable future. Through robust research and development initiatives, we are continuously investing in technologies that will facilitate the energy transition towards 2050, and beyond. Increasing R&D spending, now at approximately 4% of net sales, exemplifies our dedication to driving progress.

 

Central to our strategy is recognising there is no one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonisation. Our decarbonisation approach is designed to tailor flexible solutions to the unique needs of owners and operators globally, ensuring that they are equipped with the right technologies at the right time. By providing a diverse portfolio of flexible technologies and future-proofed solutions, we empower our customers on their decarbonisation journey.

 

Moreover, collaboration lies at the heart of decarbonisation, as the scale of this challenge ultimately requires collective action from stakeholders across the industry. Wärtsilä actively engages in several partnerships and initiatives aimed at advancing sustainable practices through fostering a culture of collaboration, paving the way for a seamless and interconnected ecosystem that supports the transition.

 

With a target to achieve carbon neutrality in our own operations and to offer a product portfolio ready for zero-carbon fuels by 2030, we are steadfast in our pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future. Wärtsilä is positioned at the forefront of the industry’s energy transition, driven by a strong commitment to innovation, collaboration, and sustainability. As we look towards the horizon beyond 2050, we remain dedicated to pioneering solutions that propel the maritime sector towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

International Marine Purchasing Association (IMPA)

International Marine Purchasing Association

Green Waves: The IMPA SAVE Initiative Transforming Maritime Procurement

 

In this in-depth Q&A, we engage with Mikael Karlsson, Chairman of IMPA Save, and Stephen Alexander, COO of IMPA, to uncover the strides IMPA SAVE is making toward sustainable maritime procurement. They share insights on driving the industry towards eco-friendly solutions, the challenges encountered, and the importance of collaborative efforts in achieving environmental goals. This dialogue highlights the critical work of IMPA SAVE under the leadership of Mikael and Stephen, showcasing their commitment to a greener maritime future.

 

Click below to access the digital version

Innovation in Procurement: How is IMPA SAVE innovating in the field of sustainable maritime procurement, and what impact do you foresee these innovations having on the industry?

 

IMPA SAVE was started on a need for action, to do the right thing. We are not innovating so to say, but rather bringing solutions to light, by presenting “innovative” solutions to our industry that better our environmental footprint, and reduce cost too. We have engaged the SAVE pledge in removing single-use items in the maritime Supply Chain, exchanging detergents and chemicals with alternative onboard made solutions, recycling of ropes deemed as waste. (Mikael says)

 

If we define innovation as something novel AND useful then IMPA SAVE is achieving this, first by something novel or let’s say NEW then the collaboration achieved by so many (now over 100 in the industry) coming together with a shared purpose is perhaps something not seen in the industry hitherto, adding to the fact that this group is highly useful – we are making genuine change and impacting procurement decision making at both major ship owners and managers and with suppliers. (Stephen says)

 

I think in every change there is a risk-element, and we are an industry that has safety first at our core. Our first pledge to reduce the use of packaged plastic drinking water onboard ships by producing water onboard, was associated with risk, but was put to rest fairly easy with the latest solutions that are available on the market to produce water onboard. The various systems were all tested by several renowned shipowners, all presented on the IMPA SAVE website. However, a lot of time is invested in the journey for many of the pledging shipowners, the due diligence is really well done. (Mikael says)

 

There was a challenge with communication – first to crew and then to the traditional procurement mindset that considers saving money to be the first priority. IMPA SAVE is about achieving cost savings alongside saving cost to the planet. People, Planet, Profit, Purpose is the IMPA SAVE mantra. But changing thinking is the biggest challenge to overcome in the journey of sustainability. (Stephen says)

Strategy for Carbon Reduction: Could you elaborate on the specific strategies IMPA SAVE employs to reduce carbon emissions in the maritime sector?

 

It is no secret that the big emitter is fuel, and where you see most owners making changes which are significant. IMPA SAVE represents a smaller part of the emission picture, some might say droplets in comparison, however emissions reduction with immediate impact. We had the company ReFlow do and Life Cycle Assessment on packaged water to be consumed onboard vs. producing water onboard. It was found that the total emission of the water filtration unit equals the use of 354 half-litre PET bottles. Now, thinking ships consume +12,000 litres onboard… Well, no strategy needed, just do it. (Mikael says)

Measuring Impact: How does IMPA SAVE measure and track the impact of its carbon reduction initiatives in the maritime industry?

 

We ask pledgers to submit the reduction every six months, and compile the information to keep track of progress. We also ask the pledging suppliers about their sales of water in plastic, which numbers are concerning. (Mikael says)

Plastic Elimination Goals: What inspired the ambitious goal of eliminating single-use plastic water bottles onboard the global fleet by 2025, and how close are you to achieving this target?

 

I was inspired by two documentaries “Drowning in plastic” by Liz Bonnin and “Plastic Ocean ” by Jo Ruxton. In a few hours I was made aware of a growing problem with plastic in our oceans and the risk it represents. I simply decided to show support for change at the time, not having IMPA SAVE in scope. I had conversations with various people involved in Ocean Conversation, I learned about communities doing beach cleanup and other actions. Right there it appeared to me we can’t keep cleaning up, we must stop consuming, using, discarding so it does not end up in our ocean or beaches. Water on ships is a top 3 item to be consumed onboard. This caused me to engage with likeminded people in our industry and IMPA SAVE became what it is today, which is really a team effort where my Board have applied themselves and engaged their respective companies to change.” (Mikael says)

 

As Mikael said, so many environmental TV programs and Ocean Studies and then you ask yourself well should I do something? Maybe I can’t, I’m only a small part of this etc. etc. BUT I have realised working with IMPA SAVE there are a LOT of people in the maritime supply chain asking the same question!

 

Motivation for IMPA SAVE creation – we have been discussing the environmental issues surrounding procurement within IMPA for many years and have been active in CSR with the work we undertook in 2011 and beyond for the creation of the IMPA ACT program (a world first in responsible supply chain management) single-use plastic has been a concern for some time. We lacked the ability to create momentum which is where Mikael had the vision, network, drive and energy to make it happen.” (Stephen says)

Impact on Ocean Health: Can you share some insights on the tangible impacts that IMPA SAVE’s efforts have had on ocean conservation and plastic pollution reduction?

 

I want to believe we gather people and have created a platform for solutions to appear at our events or webinars. Solutions that challenge conventional thinking and drive innovation and save cost. I mentioned earlier the emission impact on the water filtration system vs. bottled water. Every ship owner that buys bottled water will over a year likely buy a minimum 12,000 bottles of water. So for every 1000 ships we have pledged to IMPA SAVE we would have reduced 12 million bottles, just imagine the waste that brings, and the impact. (Mikael says)

Industry Collaboration: How does IMPA SAVE foster collaboration among different stakeholders in the maritime industry to achieve environmental goals?

 

We have over the years been speaking with BIMCO and given our insight to how they can front the IMPA SAVE pledge. We are engaged with the UK Chamber of Shipping and speaking to other organisations to spread the word and engaging with publications like yours to make companies aware there is some good to be done. (Mikael says)

 

With the IMPA events portfolio, Mikael and the IMPA SAVE team are working hard to fly the flag and present the case studies, issues and present the facts around making a change for good. This year we will develop a new series of podcasts and webinars that will help bring people together to debate the various issues where we can come together as a group and make collaborative change. (Stephen says)

Encouraging Industry Participation: What strategies does IMPA SAVE use to encourage more companies and organisations in the maritime sector to join your environmental initiatives?

 

As mentioned, we are talking to BIMCO, UKCS, and others to help get the word out to our industry that there is a straightforward action to take. I have personally been speaking at events, fronting our pledge to gain support and impact change. Other members of the IMPA SAVE board have done the same. (Mikael says)

 

We have an active communications program, and we are truly seeing the benefit of a global network in sharing ideas – webinars, etc., as above. (Stephen says)

Significance of the ESG Champion Award: How significant was receiving the 2023 ESG Champion Award at CrewConnect for IMPA SAVE, and what does this recognition mean for your future endeavours?

 

I did not see that coming. I was invited to speak at CrewConnect in Manila, giving me a different audience, but afterward, I was approached by several people thanking IMPA SAVE for fronting this initiative, and had new pledgers come from the event. It was great to receive the award on behalf of my team, and also great to be acknowledged for doing this. (Mikael says)

Visibility and Impact: How has the visibility from awards and recognitions like the ESG Champion Award impacted IMPA SAVE’s ability to influence change in the maritime industry?

 

Difficult to say. When it was published on social media, I received many congratulations for the achievement. In reality, this achievement is for all the companies that have pledged to IMPA SAVE, and that have taken action to change, and likely influenced others to do the same. What started as a drop is now a small stream that I hope will become a river when all shipowners have applied their ships to do the right thing. (Mikael says)

 

Moving forward… we seek as much awareness as we can generate. By sharing ideas and gathering people together we can achieve more. (Stephen says)

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS)

Inchcape Shipping Services

Procurement with Purpose: Simon Potter’s Strategic Vision at Inchcape Shipping Services

 

In this Q&A, we delve into the strategic mind of Simon Potter, Chief Procurement Officer at Inchcape Shipping Services. Potter discusses how Inchcape’s procurement strategy has evolved to adapt to the dynamic maritime industry, emphasising the introduction of their global ship-chandling solution. He highlights the company’s commitment to sustainability and the integration of responsible sourcing practices. Potter also sheds light on Inchcape’s innovative ‘procurement-as-a-service’ model, which offers comprehensive value beyond cost savings, and how the company manages its extensive global supply chain. Through team collaboration and navigating market trends, Inchcape remains at the forefront of sustainable and innovative decking solutions in the maritime sector.

 

Click below to access the digital brochure version

Strategic Procurement Evolution: How has Inchcape’s procurement strategy evolved to meet the dynamic needs of the maritime industry, particularly with the global ship-chandling solution?

 

Inchcape’s procurement strategy has significantly transformed from its traditional roots of merely onboarding vendors. Particularly from a port agency standpoint, our role has expanded to being the vital eyes and ears on the ground for our clients. This evolution is crucial because our customers, often absent from the ports, rely on us to manage the myriad of operations occurring there. Ensuring these operations are executed promptly, safely, and cost-effectively falls under our purview. Our group’s procurement function has increasingly become adept at meeting our customers’ needs, thanks to the seasoned professionals we have in place and the expansion of our teams to ensure coverage not only at our headquarters but also in the regions we serve.

 

Our approach to procurement is centre-led, with specialists integrated within the business units yet maintaining a central reporting line to ensure a balance between autonomy and alignment with both customer and internal needs. This strategic blend of local autonomy within our operations is pivotal.

 

The introduction of our global ship chandling solution, dubbed “procurement as a service,” marks a significant advancement in our procurement strategy. This evolution stems from recognising the additional needs our customers have when their vessels are docked. By adopting a procurement-centric viewpoint, we’ve moved beyond traditional services to address common challenges like table spending and the lack of transparency in the ‘Last Mile’ of supply chains. Our global presence, coupled with a professional procurement and supply chain team, allows us to add substantial value to our clients’ operations, offering transparency, efficacy, and cost advantages over our competitors.

 

Sustainability also plays a critical role in our procurement strategy. We work closely with our clients to identify local sourcing solutions, moving away from the conventional practice of consolidating consumables and spares in major hubs. Our commitment to authenticity means we only deal in OEM spares, ensuring quality and reliability. Furthermore, our “warehousing on demand” service exemplifies our forward-thinking approach, accommodating the unpredictable trading patterns of vessels by leveraging our global network for strategic spare part storage. This adaptability extends across various sectors, with many of our offshore customers particularly benefiting from our ability to strategically source and supply locally.

Sustainability Leadership: As VP of Sustainability at IMPA, how do you integrate sustainable practices within Inchcape’s procurement processes, and what impact does this have on the industry?

 

In my dual capacity as CPO at Inchcape and my role within the International Marine Purchasing Association (IMPA), the drive towards sustainability is a significant part of our ethos. Inchcape’s commitment to sustainability is evident as we were pioneers in signing up for the IMPA ACT and subsequently for its updated version, ACT 2.0. Our dedication to sustainable practices is not just about adherence to standards; it’s about leading by example within the maritime industry.

 

Utilising the IMPA ACT toolbox has been instrumental in refining our procurement processes, allowing us to thoroughly scrutinise every aspect of our supply chain from a sustainability standpoint. This scrutiny is not only limited to compliance with human rights and UN conventions but extends to environmental considerations, such as emissions tracking.

 

For our clients, this means that when they dock at a port serviced by an Inchcape agent, we offer comprehensive support in monitoring emissions related to the core services we provide. This initiative is crucial for our clients, providing them with a detailed understanding of their emissions footprint within the port, encompassing Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Our aim is to ensure that they have a holistic view of their environmental impact, including emissions from auxiliary services like tugs, launches, taxis, and hotels.

 

However, our commitment goes beyond tracking; it extends to educating our suppliers. Our observations suggest that approximately 30% of port suppliers are genuinely aware of what sustainability entails, and a similar percentage have set targets towards achieving net zero. As a global port agent with sustainability at our core, we believe it’s our responsibility to enlighten our supply base on the importance of supporting our clients’ sustainability goals.

 

This educational role synergises with our activities at IMPA, where we work closely with colleagues to promote sustainability within the industry. Our efforts are not just about compliance or meeting standards; they’re about fostering a culture of sustainability and responsibility across the maritime sector.

Procurement-as-a-Service: Can you elaborate on the concept of ‘procurement-as-a-service’ at Inchcape and how it delivers value beyond cost savings to your customers?

 

The essence of ‘procurement-as-a-service’ at Inchcape modernises the traditional ‘one-stop shop’ concept, providing a more comprehensive solution. Our clients, especially those operating container vessels with regular routes and suppliers, have a core list of needs when it comes to supplies and services at the ports they frequent. However, challenges arise when they need items or services beyond this core list, whether it’s spare parts, consumables, provisions, or other services. Finding vendors that meet the desired quality and price point outside their usual list can be difficult.

 

This is where our ‘procurement-as-a-service’ shines. With a global supply list exceeding 10,000 vetted suppliers across 60 countries, we offer our customers a reliable and extensive network. This service allows clients to approach us with specific needs in any port, confident in our ability to provide a solution that adheres to stringent quality and governance standards. While we may not always promise the lowest price, we ensure value through our rigorous vendor selection process, managed by our local teams on the ground. This approach guarantees that our customers benefit from the same level of governance and ethical standards they would expect from any port agency service, even if they don’t use Inchcape as their port agent.

 

Interestingly, over half of our ‘procurement-as-a-service’ clients do not utilise our port agency services, underscoring the standalone value of this offering. Even those with preferred agents opt for Inchcape’s procurement and logistics services to leverage our comprehensive governance framework and ethical policies, highlighting the distinct advantages and added value we bring to the table beyond mere cost savings.

Global Supply Chain Management: Managing a global supply chain presents unique challenges. How does Inchcape ensure reliability and efficiency across its vast network of ports and services?

 

Ensuring reliability and efficiency across Inchcape’s extensive network hinges on our adherence to strict governance, standardised processes, and unified policies. We operate under a centralised framework accessible to all employees, promoting consistent practices throughout the organisation. Leadership commitment plays a crucial role, with alignment from the CEO down, ensuring that everyone, from the board to the front lines, understands and follows our operational directives. This clarity and lean organisational structure facilitate a unified approach to service delivery.

 

Despite the inherent challenges of operating in diverse cultural and linguistic landscapes, particularly in regions like Asia Pacific, our long-standing focus on maintaining high standards has honed our ability to provide consistent service quality worldwide. We recognise that local conditions may necessitate tailored service delivery, but the core standard remains unwavering.

 

A vital component of our strategy is the meticulous onboarding and continuous assessment of our vendors. We conduct annual audits to ensure they meet our stringent requirements, maintaining high service standards irrespective of location. This rigorous vetting process is especially crucial for services involving the movement of people, where risk management is paramount for the safety of both our personnel and clients.

Team Dynamics: With a growing global Procurement and Supply Chain team, how do you foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among team members with diverse expertise?

 

Fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing within Inchcape’s diverse and global Procurement and Supply Chain team hinges on our foundational philosophy of open knowledge exchange. Recognising that no single individual holds all the answers, we place great emphasis on drawing insights and ideas from the entire team. A recent example of our collaborative approach was a gathering in Mumbai, where a significant portion of our team is based. This meeting facilitated a vibrant exchange of ideas and best practices, especially from our procurement support team, who possess a unique global perspective due to their centralised role.

 

Training sessions are a regular feature, aimed not only at skill enhancement but also at brainstorming improvements in our processes and methodologies. This continuous learning environment is underscored by our commitment to professional development, with many team members pursuing or encouraged to pursue CIPS qualifications, Six Sigma certifications, or advanced degrees.

 

Diversity in expertise is another pillar of our strategy. Our team in Mumbai, for example, benefits from the inclusion of individuals with backgrounds in mathematics and data analytics, enhancing our capability to deliver insightful data analysis and feedback to other departments. This analytical approach not only advances our procurement and risk management strategies but also propels sustainability initiatives, providing substantial non-price value to our clients.

 

Transparency with our customers is paramount, reflected in our practice of sharing original vendor invoices, ensuring they have clear visibility into the costs incurred. Our pursuit of competitive rates, balanced with a commitment to quality, underpins our promise of value. Moreover, our involvement in innovative projects, like the launch of the first purely electric launch in Singapore, exemplifies our dedication to sustainability and innovation. These initiatives not only reduce carbon footprints but also align with our customers’ sustainability goals, illustrating our role in driving the industry forward through innovative and sustainable solutions.

Chandling Service Expansion: The expansion of Inchcape’s chandling operations into strategic ports is a significant development. What criteria do you use to select these locations, and how do you tailor services to meet local demands?

 

The selection of strategic ports for the expansion of Inchcape’s chandling operations often begins with customer inquiries. Having an approved vendor list in various locations allows us to swiftly provide solutions, but the challenge lies in effectively communicating our capabilities to customers, ensuring they understand the breadth of services we offer.

 

Traditionally, port agents have provided chandling services on an ad-hoc basis, responding to last-minute requests from ships as they arrive. Our approach with the chandling solution, or ‘procurement as a service’, is to make this process more systematic, involving ourselves in the planned ordering of spares and stores rather than solely catering to emergency needs. This not only assists ships in port but also aids in preemptive planning, especially when vessels change course unexpectedly and require support in unfamiliar locations.

 

The selection of ports and tailoring of services hinge on understanding the diverse challenges our customers face. These challenges can vary widely, influenced by factors such as the size of the customer’s purchasing team, the number of contracts they manage, and the regularity with which they visit certain ports. We have identified around 60 ports that see regular activity from our clients, which have become focal points for our services. While sourcing a chandler in major ports like Singapore, Houston, or Rotterdam might be straightforward, our strength lies in providing reliable services outside these hubs, where finding quality support can be more challenging. Despite this, we’re also seeing increased demand in these major ports, highlighting our comprehensive capabilities and the trust clients place in our services.

Global Sustainability Strategy: Inchcape’s commitment to sustainability is commendable. How do you measure the effectiveness of your sustainability initiatives, and what are the key performance indicators?

 

At Inchcape, the foundation of our sustainability strategy is encapsulated in our code of conduct and, more specifically, our Supplier Code of Conduct. This sets the minimum standards we expect not only from our vendors but also from our partner agents globally. Given that we don’t operate in every location directly, it’s imperative that our representatives uphold the same sustainability standards as we do.

 

Measuring the effectiveness of these initiatives often presents challenges, as mere compliance on paper doesn’t necessarily equate to real-world application. To address this, we invest considerable effort in auditing and assessing our key vendors worldwide, ensuring they not only commit to our standards but actively embody them in their operations.

 

One of our primary Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the adherence to our business and supply codes of conduct, which reflect our sustainability and procurement expectations. Regular visits to our key vendors form another crucial part of our strategy, enabling us to conduct toolbox talks and demonstrate visible, felt leadership. These interactions are instrumental in conveying our values and ensuring that our sustainability standards are more than just a checklist, but a lived experience across our supply chain.

IMPA Act 2.0 and Industry Collaboration: How does IMPA Act 2.0 facilitate collaboration within the maritime industry, and what role does Inchcape play in promoting industry-wide sustainability through this initiative?

 

IMPA Act 2.0 primarily fosters collaboration between customers and their supplier networks within the maritime industry. While its direct influence on customer-to-customer collaboration may be less apparent, the initiative serves as a crucial bridge in aligning ship owners, managers, and their vendors on sustainability practices. Many industry stakeholders, often uncertain about how to approach sustainability, have found IMPA Act 2.0 to be an invaluable resource. The Act provides a comprehensive toolbox designed to navigate the complexities of sustainability in an industry traditionally characterised by analog processes.

 

This toolbox has become a pivotal platform for dialogue, enabling suppliers and customers to ensure mutual understanding and alignment, especially as regulatory pressures on sustainability intensify. For example, the focus on maintaining an inventory of hazardous materials is one of the many areas where IMPA Act 2.0 has raised awareness and facilitated industry-wide compliance and best practices.

 

Inchcape, aligning with the principles of IMPA Act 2.0, plays a significant role in promoting sustainability within the maritime sector. Our involvement goes beyond compliance; we actively engage with both our suppliers and customers to ensure a cohesive approach to sustainability. By advocating for and adhering to the guidelines and frameworks provided by initiatives like IMPA Act 2.0, Inchcape aims to lead by example, encouraging a more sustainable and environmentally responsible maritime industry.

Procurement Disruption and Innovation: You mentioned the maritime industry’s need for disruption and change in procurement. What innovative approaches is Inchcape implementing to lead this transformation?

 

While I must be cautious about divulging too much, I can share that Inchcape is actively engaging with technology disruptors to explore innovative procurement solutions. Our focus isn’t just on adopting new technologies for the sake of innovation; it’s about critically evaluating these advancements to enhance our procurement and purchasing strategies fundamentally.

 

A key area of innovation for us lies in managing costs and logistics beyond the major ports. It’s relatively straightforward to find chandling services in hubs like Rotterdam, Houston, or Singapore. However, the real challenge—and our differentiator—comes in providing cost-effective, efficient services in smaller or less frequented ports. Here, Inchcape stands out by not only offering procurement services but also overseeing the crucial ‘last mile’ delivery directly to the vessel, eliminating the need for intermediaries.

 

My background in chandling and subsequent experience with shipping owners like Maersk has highlighted the importance of transparency and efficiency in the procurement process. Traditionally, the visibility of an order diminishes once it reaches a local agent or airport, leaving purchasers in the dark until the goods are received on board. Inchcape aims to revolutionise this aspect by ensuring continuous transparency about the costs and status of orders, from procurement to delivery. Our approach provides a clear picture of the total cost of acquisition, including all logistics expenses, to the purchasing team ashore. This level of transparency and efficiency in managing the procurement and delivery process is central to our innovative strategy in transforming maritime procurement.

Personal Inspiration and Industry Passion: Having transitioned from various roles within the maritime sector to your current position at Inchcape, what aspects of your job inspire you the most, and how do you maintain your passion for the industry?

 

The greatest source of inspiration for me is the opportunity to work for a global entity like Inchcape, which allows me to engage with diverse cultures and people from different parts of the world. The chance to visit and interact with colleagues and customers globally is genuinely one of the job’s highlights. This exposure to varied cultures and business practices enriches my understanding and appreciation of the maritime sector.

 

Another aspect that fuels my passion is the emphasis Inchcape places on ethical governance and standards. It’s one thing to profess a commitment to strict ethics and codes, but at Inchcape, we truly embody these principles. The role of a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) is rare in the supplier side of our industry, highlighting the value Inchcape places on procurement as a critical function. This contrasts with many sectors where procurement is undervalued.

 

My role at Inchcape transcends traditional procurement functions like contract management and cost-saving. It encompasses driving value through maximising supplier relationships, maintaining service standards, fostering innovation, and spearheading sustainability and ESG initiatives. Our procurement department operates with a commercial mindset, actively engaging with customers to manage risks and enhance the supply chain they depend on through us.

 

I find that customers appreciate engaging with procurement professionals who understand their challenges. Being able to sit down with a counterpart and discuss solutions beyond the usual sales pitch not only breaks down barriers but also adds substantial value. This direct approach allows us to address their needs more effectively, showcasing Inchcape’s commitment to driving change and delivering results in the maritime industry.

In Association with:

Marina Offshore Pte Ltd, holding a prestigious Public Licence from the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore since 1998, has been at the forefront of providing top-notch towage services within the bustling Port of Singapore. With over 25 years of expertise in owning, managing, and operating tug boats, Marina Offshore has carved a niche for itself by offering marine and offshore support services characterised by reliability and excellence.

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SMS Towage, a leader in maritime excellence, delivers unparalleled harbour, offshore, and specialised towage services. Their fleet, highlighted by the powerful ASD tug Superman and the adept Marksman, guarantees unmatched precision and efficiency in vessel management. With strategic locations across key UK ports, including the Humber, Bristol Channel, Belfast, and Portsmouth, SMS Towage offers unwavering 24/7 support, embodying their commitment to client satisfaction, crew welfare, and environmental preservation.

www.smstowage.com

PSA Marine, a wholly owned subsidiary of PSA International, is a leading marine services provider with flagship operations in Singapore and Peru. Combining operational excellence with a forward-looking approach, PSA Marine’s business portfolio extends beyond its core businesses of towage and pilotage, to marine advisory, navigational audit, water supply to vessels, crew transfer in the offshore wind industry, and training and consultancy services.

www.psamarine.com