In shipping, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the present. Industry commentary alternates between looking nervously at the past – including the annus horribilis that was 2016 for so many market segments – and looking nervously at the future; at the impending 2020 sulphur cap, digitalisation, and automation to name but a few challenging areas.
That is not to say that introspection on these topics isn’t valid. Last year’s upheaval – and, indeed, the transformative change that will happen in the years to come – will require shipping’s brightest minds debating and communicating at their fullest to chart a successful course.
But it is equally important to heed, and praise, the innovating spirit that has taken root at the industry’s core.
Regulatory pressures, such as the announcement of the 2020 global 0.5% sulphur cap, are driving transformative change in the way that the industry operates. Eyes are now being opened, from the Americas to Asia, on the potential benefits of cleaner, more efficient and sustainable operations.
Indeed, even the most superficial perusal of the shipping press reveals an ever-growing tranche of technologies and solutions making their way onto the market.
BLUE is proud to work with many companies who are not afraid to push the boundaries and change the way that the industry views a whole range of issues and challenges.
Look no further than the recent launch of a new animation by Silverstream Technologies, a long-standing BLUE client of ten years, and the pioneer of air lubrication technology within shipping.
Their technology, the Silverstream® System, uses compressors and cavities on the flat bottom of a vessel to create a ‘carpet of air’, reducing frictional resistance between the water and the hull surface, significantly reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions.
Other clients have also displayed their forward thinking in recent months. The announcement in January 2017, for example, of Norsepower’s new deal with Viking Line to install its flettner rotor sail solution on the M/S Viking Grace will create the industry’s first ever global LNG/wind electric propulsion-hybrid vessel.
It is clear that across the industry owners and operators are now recognising the commercial and environmental benefits of clean technologies. This means that for inventors and suppliers, there has never been a better time for making a credible case for their solutions. More widely, it also reveals a changing outlook within the industry – one that is putting progress, and long-term sustainability first.
By Rhys Thomas, Junior Account Manager