In an increasingly complex, fast changing and challenging market, the role of the classification society is more relevant than ever, said Mr Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, at a press conference ahead of Posidonia trade fair in Athens. Class enables innovation in shipbuilding, guides owners and operators through a demanding regulatory landscape and helps the industry tackle cyber crime, he underlined, as per a release.
Leading off the press conference, DNV GL Group President and CEO, Mr Remi Eriksen, explained that two mega trends are impacting the maritime industry: decarbonisation and digitalisation. On decarbonisation, he said: “The IMO strategy announced last month targets a 50 per cent carbon reduction. This is ambitious but not unachievable. We see some companies leading the way, and more efficient ship designs and better ship utilisation will propel this.”
In terms of digitalisation Mr Eriksen said: “It’s about connecting the hardware with services, with people and with other data streams to build better ways of doing business. And the key to unlocking the value that industrial data holds is trust. We see significant interest and demand for our open industry data platform, Veracity, from the maritime, oil and gas, and energy sectors.”
In his presentation, Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen said that the shipping market was probably at the bottom of the cycle and looks forward to continuing modest upward growth. As part of this upswing, European yards had experienced a renaissance, on the basis of a strategy to specialise in high technology vessels. DNV GL was working with many of these yards, he said, helping to implement alternative fuels, working to improve energy efficiency and providing insight and technical expertise in high-tech segments, such as cruise, ferries and offshore vessels.
Decarbonising shipping would not impact specific ships in the short term, he said, but required concrete policy measures and the development of an action plan by IMO. “The 50 per cent reduction goal will likely call for a wide-spread uptake of zero-carbon fuels, in addition to other energy efficiency measures… These fuels are not existing today, and there needs to be a concerted effort towards developing these and making them available in the necessary quantity. In classification, working with the industry to create a safe and sustainable future is at the heart of what we do. We look forward to working closely with the IMO and the wider maritime community to reach this goal.”
Increasing digitalisation in the industry came with a host of benefits, including improving environmental performance, said Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen, but there were challenges as well. Cyber crime needed to be addressed: “We see our industry being more exposed, with cyber attacks migrating from the IT world to operational technology, increasing the risk for shipping. To help the industry to tackle those risks, we have put cyber security high on our agenda,” he said.
In closing, Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen emphasised the continuing importance of classification: “Our ways of working may be changing. But the purpose of classification still remains the same: To protect life, property and the environment.”