Stefanos Papandreou & Theano Kalapotharakou report from Hamburg
With the participation of a considerable number of ships’ equipment manufacturers from Greece, SMM Hamburg 2022 returned back more actively after a four-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The co-publishers of ELNAVI Stefanos Papandreou and Theano Kalapotharakou visited SMM to cover the commercial activities of the leading international and Greek ship’s equipment manufacturers and service providers.
The participants of the exhibition were focused on the following critical topics: Supply chain disruption, alternative propulsion technologies, e-fuels – political and business leaders discussed current challenges facing the shipping industry.
Their conclusion: Shipbuilding companies and suppliers are ready for the Maritime Transition – and SMM is about to provide valuable input on how to accomplish it.
Featuring high-profile speakers, SMM press conference marked the kick-off for four intriguing days. Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO, Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH, was delighted to note that the entire exhibition campus is occupied, and face-to-face interaction is finally possible again. The Hamburg Messe CEO had invited top-flight guests to discuss the core theme of this SMM, the Maritime Transition:
• Claudia Müller, the German Federal Maritime Coordinator
• Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO, MAN Energy Solutions
• Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General, BIMCO
• Steve Gordon, Managing Director, Clarksons Research
• Wolfram Guntermann, Director Regulatory Affairs, Hapag-Lloyd AG
Closed-off ports, overstretched supply chains, crew change challenges – Covid-19 kept a tight grip on the world over the past two years. Moderator David Patrician asked Steve Gordon, Managing Director at Clarksons Research, whether Covid had caused the Green Agenda to slip out of the the shipping industry’s focus. He said: “The shipping market remained remarkably resilient during Covid.” A look at the global orderbooks reveals that shipyards are fully booked for the next two to three years, he continued. “The share of new orders for ships with alternative propulsion systems is above 40 per cent,” including many newbuilds designed to operate on LNG, he said. While methanol is a big topic, Gordon pointed out, shipowners by and large are still rather hesitant when it comes to e-fuels. “We are just at the start of a huge fuel transition, with a fleet renewal programme that will require massive investment, technology change and innovation”.
The CEO of MAN Energy Solutions Dr. Uwe Lauber said the maritime transition is technically possible today. “The good news is: Regulatory framework provided, shipping can be green and not emit any more CO2 after 2045. However this might still not be fast enough to stay in line with the Paris agreement. Industry growth alone will lead to a massive emissions overshoot on our way to 2045, if we do not act now.”
But what good is all this technology to shipowners if there isn’t enough fuel, asked Lars Robert Pedersen. According to the Vice Secretary General of BIMCO, the lack of sufficient energy resources is a massive problem. “Availability of sustainable energy for the transition is both the question and the answer to decarbonisation of shipping – and all other sectors of society as well. The scale is monumental. While sustainable energy is being scaled up, shipping should not wait but pursue all avenues to improve the efficiency of the fleet”.
Claudia Müller, the German Federal Maritime Coordinator, promised government support to the maritime sector. “For shipping and beyond, the question we have to keep asking ourselves is this: Which energy source is best-suited and most efficient for specific applications?”, Müller asked.
“Retrofitting programmes are key to the environmental performance,” said Wolfram Guntermann, Director Regulatory Affairs at Hapag-Lloyd AG. At the world’s fifth-largest container shipping company this means retrofitting highly efficient propellers from the German manufacturer MMG (Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH).
This example demonstrates that the shipping industry is on the right path despite many open questions about future fuels. Bernd Aufderheide was confident that SMM will deliver the right impetus for the maritime energy transition.
SMM was officially opened by its honorary patron, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a video message. Scholz underlined the importance of the maritime sector saying: “’That ship has sailed’ (is a phrase) we often use to mark a lost opportunity. He also pointed to the important role of shipping in transporting alternative fuels such as methanol and hydrogen. All these topics are highlighted at SMM.
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