The Route to 2030
Shipowners, shipyards and Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore experts offer their vision of where the marine industry will be by 2030.
Head of Ship Management
Tallink | Silja Line
“The primary challenge for shipping in the 2020s will be reaching decarbonization targets, for which fuel flexibility will be key. Short-distance shipping already has battery-powered propulsion and alternative fuel solutions, and dual-fuel engines are becoming increasingly common. For ferries and passenger ships especially – such as our new MegaStar vessel with dual-fuel LNG engines – clean fuel is crucial.
Long-distance shipping will likely rely more on low-carbon, carbon-neutral, and zero-carbon fuels, as well as electrical propulsion. Most engines can easily be fitted or retrofitted to accommodate alternative fuels, and electrical propulsion can reduce carbon emissions in many ways. For example, Tallink has developed a project in Stockholm – soon to be replicated in Helsinki and Tallinn – where ferries are connected to the onshore electric power grid while docked. By working with ports, we can eliminate emissions from idling ships in populated coastal areas.
I also believe that ship hydrodynamics and energy efficiency will improve greatly as digital tools advance. Better data collection and analysis will mean more accurate studies to determine the most efficient operational profile for ships, including trim optimization, fuel consumption, hydrodynamics and more. Reduced turnaround time in ports will then allow for more efficient sailing time, further reducing ships’ carbon footprints.”
Chief Executive Officer
Tärntank Ship Management AB
“The key topic for the next decade will be the energy transition, the challenge of decarbonizing the maritime industry. Given increasing regulations from IMO, as well as evolving local and national legislation, maritime actors must accelerate their use of alternative fuels and propulsion solutions, improve gas supply chains and continue developing new technologies.
In my view, a critical phase in this transition will be having ships powered by a variety of fuels. Tärntank, for example, recently ordered two vessels that will run on four types of fuel: liquefied biogas (LBG), LNG, battery power and fuel oil. I expect to see greater numbers of hybrid vessels like this built in the 2020s, as a necessary step in shipping’s evolution towards decarbonization.”
Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.
Geoje, South Korea
“A key concern for the next decade will be adjusting to the use of carbon-free energy, from both a technical and regulatory perspective. Shipyards, vessel owners, charterers and classification societies will need to work closely with organizations like IMO to develop new regulatory frameworks and reach GHG emissions reduction targets.
For the short-term, I suspect LNG will remain the most sought after and effective alternative fuel option. The growing interest in LNG-powered ships, gas carriers and bunkering vessels is reflected in global order books and directly in our yard, where orders for LNG-powered containerships and crude carriers continue rolling in.”
Robby de Backer
Director Newbuilding Department
Jan De Nul Group
“The energy transition (i.e. lowering emissions of CO2 and other pollutants) with the ultimate goal of achieving carbon-neutral operations, is certainly the biggest challenge. The difficulty is that there is currently no clear path for how this can be achieved. On the one hand, shipowners risk investing in technology that may be a dead end. On the other hand, we cannot remain idle in the face of climate change. Ultimately, regulations should clearly define the way ahead; we cannot allow the sort of uncertainty we’re seeing now – e.g. concerning the choice between installing scrubbers or using low sulfur fuels – to continue.”
Vice President of the Hellenic, Black Sea and Adriatic Zone
Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore
“The energy transition will be at the forefront of shipowner’s minds in the coming years, as they navigate evolving environmental regulations. In the Mediterranean, this means leaning into operational efficiency measures – e.g. trim and draft optimization, weather routing, speed reduction – until alternative fuels options are more clearly determined and widely available.
Another major trend for the 2020s will be the increased digitalization of assets. Shipowners are interested in cyber safety and security, and I expect to see more traceability and chain management technology. More long-term, there should be further progress in the development of unmanned vessels. Several pilot programs have already been launched for small autonomous vessels. By 2030, sea-going ships may be next in line!”
Global Technology Leader, Smart Ships
“The 2020s will be a dynamic decade for smart shipping. Smart solutions are set to support the energy transition, as increased automation for engines, navigation systems and machinery helps shipowners improve energy efficiency and reduce OPEX to meet decarbonization requirements.
Beyond smart shipping’s role in the energy transition, monitoring and maintenance solutions are becoming increasingly digital. Asset owners have started using sensors to collect information in real time, and are looking forward to having integrated data platforms to safely store and analyze their data.
By the mid-2020s, smart navigation should be under way, with automated anti- collision systems and improved interfaces for operators, followed by the introduction of smart cargo systems. As digital infrastructure develops, and ports worldwide begin implementing smart solutions, the possibility of launching fully automated, unmanned vessels by 2030 is strong.”
Global Technology Leader, Sustainable Ships
Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore
“There is no doubt that the 2020s will revolve around the energy transition, a central pillar of which will be the further development of LNG. I expect to see several countries making greater strides towards completing the LNG chain.
As new materials make cryogenic steel for LNG fuel tanks less expensive, and shipyards and operators increase their expertise and efficiency, LNG technology will become an ever more attractive investment. Additionally, I hope to see further development of small-scale LNG in Europe, which will bring refueling capabilities to areas with less established infrastructure.”