'The European shipping industry needs to innovate if it wants to stay ahead of the game', said Tor Svensen, CEO of DNV GL while addressing visitors to the European Shipping Week in Brussels on March 6.
During his keynote speech on innovation, Svensen outlined three key areas which shipping should be focusing on in the decades to come.
“Today, 70 percent of the world’s fleet is controlled from Europe,” Svensen said.
"Our strong maritime clusters give us the opportunity to drive innovation - by making a continued investment in research and development, stimulating joint industry projects, focusing on building competitive strengths as well as bringing capital, academia, investors and industry together and creating industry-government partnerships. let us use this opportunity and be thought leaders."
Svensen outlined the three key priorities that will drive shipping in the future as; sustainability and environmentally friendly tech, big data and connected ship solutions as well as a mindset to improve its safety track record.
In his speech, Svensen said European equipment manufacturers are already leading the way, holding a global market share of 41.5 percent. Its deep-water, subsea and harsh environment technology industries along with more advanced sectors such as offshore supply vessels, passenger ships, multi-purpose vessels and mega containerships are all considered world leading.
But the CEO of the company stressed the importance of support from European policy makers. “Their commitment to shaping the framework conditions that enable the industry is critical,” Svensen said. “We need stable and therefore sustainable conditions to let industry clusters flourish and to enhance trust. Europe needs to get the gloves off in addressing competition issues ensuring reciprocity - of course without compromising on safety and quality."
Svensen also applauded the European maritime industry for recognising its responsibility to put shipping on a path towards greater sustainability. “Recently, there have been many global efforts and initiatives to protect the environment. But to achieve the ambitious goal of a 60 to 80 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed”, Svensen said. He noted that European industry players were working hard to tackle these challenges, by being forerunners in innovative, greener propulsion technologies, such as battery and hybrid systems, fuel cells or LNG-fuelled engines. “As the trend is to go beyond compliance, adopting these technologies gives you a competitive advantage.”
New software and big data solutions could enable the industry to implement smart maintenance strategies and increase operational efficiency. “In addition, automated systems for remote areas generate safety improvements and decision support systems can permit faster and more informed decisions by crews,” Svensen said. Apart from the use of big data solutions to improve the safety track record, the industry needed to push for greater transparency in the information exchange, learn more from reported accidents and implement preventive and mitigating barriers to the risks faced, he said.