Shortages fuel fears for decarbonisation success

There are warnings that the maritime industry’s navigation to a net zero future will be blown off course by the inability to access the necessary levels of alternative fuels.

Trond Hodne, business director maritime, at Norwegian register and classification society, DNV, told delegates at the International Union of Marine Insurance’s (IUMI) annual conference in Edinburgh that the proposed timetable for the phasing out of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the maritime sector from the International Maritime Organisation are likely to flounder due to the lack of availability of alternative fuels for vessels.

“Shipping will need 40% of the world’s alternative fuels to meet the IMO’s 2030 GHG scenario,” he said. “The situation as it stands is unrealistic to believe they will be able to access such a percentage.

“New fuels are likely to be late and short in supply for the shipping sector.”

He added that ESG will change everything for the sector and that decarbonisation is being driven commercially rather than by any clear regulations and as such it remains a commercial decision rather than a desired strategy for many in the industry.

However, and the maritime sector charts a course of net zero access to new fuels is only one of the issues which crew and their expertise another major stumbling block.

Hodne said that with the new technology needed to utilise alternative fuels sources, and the fuels themselves it will require 750,000 seafarers to be trained in alternative fuel technologies.

“New skills will be required and the number of crew that will need to be trained is significant. There is the question as to how and when this training can be delivered, and it may increase the risks of failure if the crews are now comfortable with the technology on board.”

Technology remained a threat Hodne added, revealing that DNV had 22 cyber related incidents in 2022.

“Cyber security is a topic that is becoming more important as the amount of technology onboard a vessel increases,” he explained.

Hodne concluded that those in the industry had to work together if the challenges were to be overcome.

“Collaboration is the fuel for the future,” he said.