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Decarbonization, digitalization, safety top industry agenda at summit

Feb 8, 2019 10:16 AM

The Global Maritime Forum draws 200 decision-makers to a Hong Kong conference

The following is text of a news release from the Global Maritime Forum:

(HONG KONG) — The report “Breaking New Ground” presents the outcomes of the Global Maritime Forum’s recent Annual Summit in Hong Kong. The high-level meeting convened 200 decision-makers from across the entire maritime spectrum to address key challenges and opportunities facing global seaborne trade.

“Discussions at the summit generated many new ideas and proposals for collaborative action," said Johannah Christensen, managing director, head of projects and programs at the Global Maritime Forum. "They will guide our activities in 2019 and beyond. The Global Maritime Forum will continue to provide a shared platform for industry leaders and other stakeholders to work together to shape the future of global seaborne trade and increase sustainable long-term economic development and human well-being.”

Urgent action needed to advance shipping’s decarbonization

Participants in the summit agreed that reaching the climate emission reduction goal set by the International Maritime Organization in April 2018 requires urgent and coordinated action. This was most clearly articulated in a call to action in support of shipping’s decarbonization that was launched at the summit and that has been signed by more than 50 industry leaders from across the global maritime industry. To succeed, they suggested that the industry will have to move beyond short-termism and self-interest toward active multi-stakeholder collaboration that not only involves all maritime stakeholders, but also fuel companies, engine manufacturers, financial institutions and others who have an important role to play in building the net zero carbon future for maritime transport.

A tangible objective that came out of the discussions was to make it commercially viable, 10 years from now, to order net zero emission deep-sea vessels for delivery in 2030. To support and incentivize shipping’s transition to a low carbon future, participants suggest that financial institutions integrate climate alignment considerations into lending decisions.

A new digital mindset

Emerging digital technologies and new digital business models will dramatically transform the maritime industry. Participants in the summit suggested that a new mindset fit for the digital economy of the future is needed to succeed with this transformation. Several working groups at the summit pointed to the resistance in the industry to sharing information. In their view, collecting and sharing trusted data is the foundation for using digital technologies to collaboratively improve performance in the maritime industry, for example with regards to maritime safety.

Safety a top priority for the maritime industry

Maritime safety was indeed a key issue that was discussed across many of the working groups at the summit and participants agreed that safety must be a top priority for the industry. One group set out a vision of a zero-accident industry and developed a roadmap toward this goal but cautioned that this vision can only be realized if all stakeholders take responsibility for keeping seafarers safe and work together to make it happen.

Other issues discussed at the summit included how the maritime industry can attract the talent of the future; how regulation can support innovation; how the 2020 sulfur cap can be successfully implemented, and how ship recycling can become more transparent and sustainable.

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