Shipping Industry Need Sustainable Profitability

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  • Shipping companies around the world have seen profits surge during the pandemic.
  • We have got to make close to $1.5 trillion worth of investment to decarbonize our industry over the next 20-30 years.
  • Engie has partnered with Singapore’s largest taxi operator ComfortDelGro to implement electric vehicle charging stations.

Shipping companies around the world have seen profits surge during the pandemic as a supply chain crunch boosted freight rates, but much more investment is needed to accelerate the industry’s decarbonization, a shipping executive told a forum in Singapore, says an article published on Nikkei Asia website. 

Need trillion dollar of investment for decarbonization  

“$10 or $20 billion worth of profit as an industry is good,” said Jeremy Nixon, the global chief executive of Ocean Network Express, a Singapore-based shipping company. 

“But we have got to make close to $1.5 trillion worth of investment to decarbonize our industry over the next 20-30 years. We need sustainable profitability.”

Transition to renewable energy 

Nixon was speaking on a panel discussing “Green businesses: Sustainable development through decarbonization” at the Nikkei Forum Innovative Asia held in Singapore on Jan. 20.

99.9% of ships still use fossil fuel, and that produces about 3% of global carbon emissions. Nixon said that there is “growing consensus” among shipping companies about the need to get to net zero emissions by 2050, rather than the industry regulator’s target of halving its footprint between 2008 and 2050. 

But unlike cars, which are rapidly going electric, “battery technology at the moment is not sufficient to run 1,000 ton ships across oceans for 30 days.”

The key to the transition will be securing renewable energy at scale and at affordable prices, Nixon said, and called on regulators to step in. 

“We need to work on having market-based measures which will make fuel oil come up to a more competitive level in line with the zero emission fuels and give back some type of revenue to companies which are moving with the low emission fuels.”

Find new ways

Jared Chng, chief financial officer of Engie South East Asia, which is part of French utility group Engie, said “major disruptions” in Singapore’s automotive industry are already on the way. Engie has partnered with Singapore’s largest taxi operator ComfortDelGro to implement electric vehicle charging stations. “In the next couple of years electric vehicles are going to rise and so will EV charging.”

“These technologies have all gone through a lot of R&D and collaboration, and today we are actually beginning to see these businesses being very sustainable from a financial angle and a green angle.”

Fulco Wijdooge, general manager of Ridder China, a subsidiary of the Dutch agriculture digital solution provider Ridder Group, said the energy shortage in China may prompt the country to accelerate the adoption of technology in agriculture.

“There’s just a scarcity of resources, so companies are also forced to find new ways to make sure that at least they have sufficient energy,” he said. “We also see a big role for digitalization and robotics.”

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Source: nikkei

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