The forecast is sustainable for shipping this new year

The forecast is sustainable for shipping this new year

At the dawn of a new year, we take another step toward a more sustainable future, one in which we strive to leave the planet in a better place than we found it. This year, Bureau Veritas’ resolution is once again to play a central part in the vital transformations needed to safeguard our seas for future generations. 

State of play

Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, and the lives of every living thing on it depend on our oceans. Across the globe, individuals and organizations are increasingly aware of the fragility of the marine ecosystem and our crucial role in protecting it. As a result, changes in the maritime industry extend far beyond shipping to encompass supporting infrastructure, economies, crews, and the sea itself. We are moving away from an operating model in which oceans are a resource and toward one where they are treated as a key stakeholder in our future.

The industry is facing an enormous challenge. Global trade relies heavily on shipping, and decarbonizing such a massive industry requires innovation and development of safe new fuel and propulsion technologies as well as new designs and ways of thinking. Today’s ships will be in service until mid-century, so the time to plan for the future is now. 2050 is also an important milestone: the deadline the international shipping industry has set for halving its annual greenhouse gas emissions compared to their 2008 baseline. Meeting this goal requires action this year, and every following year.

Strength in numbers

Unity is also a pre-requisite for change. Players throughout the marine value chain must work together to make shipping less carbon-intensive and ensure that we achieve that in a way that benefits everyone. Meeting decarbonization targets requires agility. It took 15 years for our industry to understand and prepare for the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the scale we see today. The industry must accelerate to adapt new, lower-carbon fuel options while exploring zero-carbon alternatives.

However, a zero-carbon future will be about more than just fuels and propulsion. The maritime sector will also need to develop new skills along with new methods and levels of collaboration and transparency. Shipping is under increasing scrutiny from customers pushing for greater transparency regarding environmental and social impact in everything from pollution to working conditions onboard ships, construction materials, and the end-of-life disposal of vessels. Now, the industry has a golden opportunity to step into a new role as a guardian of our oceans, forming the backbone of low-carbon transportation. 

The role of classification societies

Classification societies have long played a key part in innovating for the shipping industry, and as a result, promoting sustainability. Thanks to their unique expertise, they can now help owners meet the changing demands of downstream customers and explore new solutions to reach zero-carbon goals.
At this critical juncture, Bureau Veritas provides valuable support to ship owners and yards worldwide. For example, we support our client’s energy transition with a wide range of Rules and guidelines, including:

Further, our notation SUSTAINABLESHIP-2 includes requirements to limit carbon emissions, as well as restrictions on URN (Underwater radiated noise) and SOx and NOx emissions, and requirements for onboard wellbeing.

We are energized at the prospect of the challenges 2022 is set to bring, and we are optimistic about the direction in which the industry is heading. As ever, we intend to support our clients every nautical mile of the way as they shape a better maritime world for future generations.