Electrification of shipping goes slow

The proportion of electrified vessels is unlikely to increase until 2030 and the current instruments for compiling the economic calculation for investments in electrification are perceived as insufficient. But the set of instruments can change in the next few years, VTI writes in a report that responds to a government assignment to review the electrification of shipping. In the preparation of the knowledge base, VTI has conducted a dialogue with Lighthouse.

Compared with other modes of transport, shipping has not come far in the transition to electrification. Around 340 ships of the world’s 98,000 ships had some form of electric propulsion in December 2021. The proportion of electrified ships will probably not increase significantly until 2030, writes VTI in Elektrifieringen av sjöfarten – förutsättningar, nuläge och styrmedel – one of three sub-reports that now are ready in the government assignment to review the electrification of transport.

The technology for battery propulsion has come further than that for hydrogen propulsion and the electrified Swedish vessels in which VTI has identified are all powered by batteries. Electrification is likely to continue but is best suited for ferries and ships operating shorter, fixed routes with many stops. Possibly hydrogen in liquid form in the future can be an alternative fuel for longer distances, writes VTI.

There are several challenges regarding the alternative fuels of the future. Hydrogen and battery propulsion are associated with higher costs, lower energy density (and large energy losses in the case of hydrogen propulsion) as well as requiring more space compared to conventional propulsion.

Another challenge that VTI addresses is the large power requirement that will be required in ports if larger vessels are to be powered by batteries. The report mentions the ferry Stena Electra, which is still in the idea stage but is planned for 2030, as an example. The battery of the ferry is approximately 600 times as large as the largest batteries in passenger cars today and will place great demands on powerful electrical connections. Something that will also need to be considered in the future is the large investments in production and distribution of hydrogen that will be required to make hydrogen propulsion possible to a greater extent.

The report also takes a closer look at policy instruments. The majority of those identified in the report, both at national and international level, are intended to promote investment in both land and battery propulsion and hydrogen propulsion. This applies, for example, to environmentally differentiated port and fairway fees, environmental requirements and support for investments and research.

Today’s instruments, however, are perceived by many Swedish and foreign shipping companies as insufficient to compile the financial calculation for investments in electrification. One problem that stands out is the weak economic incentives to switch from conventional fuels. Lack of fuel taxation for shipping makes bunker oil economically advantageous compared to renewable fuels, writes VTI. Another problem concerns loan financing. According to the shipping companies, investments in more climate-friendly shipping are not rewarded by lenders in the form of lower interest rates or other favorable loan terms. Some shipowners in Sweden also experience that existing environmental differentiation of port and fairway fees does not significantly affect the investment calculation.

However, the authors of the report believe that the instruments for electrifying shipping are likely to change within the next few years. The EU’s climate legislation package Fit for 55 can increase the degree of internalisation of emission costs and thus also increase the incentives for electrification. And taxation of fuel for shipping in combination with the cost of CO2 emissions in the emissions trading system, if implemented, are likely to be two factors that increase shipping companies’ economic incentives to switch from fossil fuels.

To the report

Obstacles prevent waterborne logistics – but opportunities exist

Construction traffic, garbage and other deliveries could with advantage be run on water in Swedish large cities. But market mechanisms, regulations, technology, problems with quays and old habits stand in the way. This is shown by a pre-study carried out within the Swedish Transport Administration’s industry program Sustainable Shipping, which Lighthouse runs.

“The threshold is high for deviations from business as usual. It takes drastic conditions, such as a ban on too much road transport in an area, to choose the waterway instead”, says Sönke Von Wieding, who led the work on the pre-study Myndigheters roll för urban vattenburen logistik.

It should be different. The increased traffic congestion in our cities threatens both the environment and the economy, and in the Swedish freight transport strategy there is a clear goal of moving goods from road to water.

“Construction transport is what would be most profitable, above all environmentally, but perhaps also economically.”

According to the pre-study, there is a good potential to transport waste and recycled materials on water, while the market potential is not obvious for parcel deliveries as the flows are small and more fragmented (many senders and recipients).

A major obstacle to waterborne urban logistics (WUL) is that there are often no quays in good locations. This is complicated by a complex ownership structure – even though most quays in central urban areas are owned by the municipality, it is different administrations that own and are responsible for them.

“Quays are often owned by an authority that has nothing to do with traffic planning. There is a need for coordination internally and more competence and resources. Authorities would need to take a more active role in urban freight transport. Just as you plan for public transport, you have to plan for urban freight transport”, says Sönke Von Wieding.

The authorities could also work more to develop the market for WUL. As public actors, and large buyers of transport services, the authorities as a contracting party can, for example, require that transport takes place by water. But that’s easier said than done. The study indicates that the most important measure to drive development forward is to create a supportive culture for WUL in the authorities. At present, decision – makers’ routines, habits and approaches are a major obstacle as they maintain lock-in mechanisms that make it difficult to implement the necessary measures.

The study shows that WUL can contribute to sustainable freight transport in cities and the researchers therefore propose continued research and development work on a number of points. Better conditions for WUL could be made possible through studies such as:

• Under which conditions can WUL contribute to sustainable cities and efficient transport?

• How can WUL be integrated in public procurement?

• How can local authorities consolidate the fragmented responsibility for WUL?

• Is there a need for a regulatory framework dedicated to urban waterways?

Footnote: The pre-study was conducted by Sönke von Wieding, SSPA Sweden AB, in collaboration with Johan Woxenius, Jon Williamsson and Michael Browne at the University of Gothenburg

Read the report

How should we make the transfer?

There is a political will to move goods from road to sea. But how make it happen? And is shipping always more sustainable than other modes of transport? The issues will be addressed in a new pre-study that examines how the conditions for a transfer to sustainable shipping can be improved.

According to the national freight transport strategy, which the government appointed in 2018, a transfer of goods from road to rail and shipping must be promoted. But very little has happened. “There are few signs that a transfer has taken place, or that the conditions for this have improved over time,” wrote Traffic Analysis, for example, in a report published in January. Something needs to be done.

“We will work with the issues from a product owner perspective”, says Linda Styhre, researcher at IVL Swedish Environmental Institute who together with colleagues from the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers will implement the project within the Swedish Transport Administration’s industry program Sustainable shipping which Lighthouse runs.

“We have had a strategic collaboration called the Transport Purchasing Panel since 2010 and have previously identified the transport buyers as central to the transfer of the transport system.”

Transport buyers can contribute to change by setting different requirements – on time, on logistics, on which fuels to use and other sustainability aspects.

“It’s not just about getting a transfer, this should also be made to a shipping that is more sustainable than road transport. That is not always the case today. From an energy and carbon dioxide perspective, shipping is more often better per unit transported, but if you look at other emissions such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur and particles, it is not obvious. It is time for the shipping industry to understand that.”

The project is therefore carried out in collaboration with the Clean Shipping Index, a certification tool, which IVL operates, which has been used to environmentally identify port and fairway charges by using vessels emissions to air and water.

“Goods owners can also use the Clean Shipping Index and, for example, demand a certain number of points on the ships in order for the shipping company to be allowed to transport their goods.”

So how does the project work? Well, two companies are involved, Scania and Absolut, and the starting point is two existing transport lines that are currently operated by road. What would happen if these were given a sea route? The goal is to find solutions with lower environmental impact while costs and service requirements, such as frequency and availability, are at an acceptable level.

“In previous studies, we have seen that there is a lack of knowledge about shipping solutions among some product owners and that there is often a lack of prioritization of working with transfer from road to other modes of transport. In order to make a transfer happen, an industry collaboration is also needed. And that is what we want to achieve in the project. We want to raise the level of knowledge and get it on the priority list by providing a method for how companies can work with the issue.”

The hydrogen project led to great collaboration

In shipping, there’s been a lot of talk about collaboration as the fuel of the future. The work in the pre-study Safe Hydrogen Installation on board, made within the Swedish Transport Administration’s industry program Sustainable Shipping, which is run by Lighthouse, is a perfect example of this. 47 actors from all possible directions are now part of a network that takes the hydrogen issue further.

“As a researcher, you are used to a small part of the industry being interested in research projects, but here everyone, from authorities and shipowners to technology suppliers, has really been involved. The reference group we have had has been extremely committed”, says Ellinor Forsström, project manager at RISE.

Project-wise, it is an experience she will bring with her. The difference is big on how far you get with research results, depending on whether you have the industry with you or if you have to seek help with input.

“This has made the network that was intended as a “delivery on the side” one of the main results of the pre-study. We had hoped to bring in some industry partners to build a network after the pre-study ended, but it has already been established. We continue to work with seminars and events this spring.”

The aim of the pre-study was to create a “guide” for the installation of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell driveline in an existing ship – a so-called retrofit. For this, Ventrafiken’s passenger and car ferry Uraniborg, which operates the Landskrona-Ven route, has been used. Based on the ship’s operating profile and physical conditions, a hypothetical fuel cell/battery concept has been developed and undergone a risk identification analysis.

“In the case of Uraniborg, it is in practice possible to make a retrofit installation, but just as with all alternative fuels right now, it presupposes that a completely unique concept is developed. There are no standards, which means that an enormous responsibility is placed on the shipping company and the design company”, says Ellinor Forsström.

The conclusion is that it is easier to build new instead of rebuilding. Although Uraniborg is for some reasons perfectly suitable for a retrofit (it has a set route which means that the fuel is stored at one and the same place), the spaces on machine tires are limited in terms of how much hydrogen you can bring on board.

“Major interventions would be needed, partly to make room for the hydrogen tanks in a practical way, and partly to get it in a way that would meet the various safety aspects related to fuel handling on board. We have not looked at the economy in this study, but from an economic perspective, it probably makes more sense to invest in building a new ship in the current situation.”

But that may change soon. An international standard on how to build and install hydrogen-powered drivelines is underway.

“IMO, Bureau Veritas and others are developing guidelines on how to install fuel cells and handle hydrogen on board. There will soon be a clear turning point that makes it much easier to develop retrofit solutions.”

The pre-study has not only created a network – it will probably also lead to further research.

“There are many possible continuation projects that we see as current. On the one hand, we want to dig deeper into the bunkering procedure. This is a very interesting issue, both technically and in terms of safety”, says Ellinor Forsström.

Footnote. The study was conducted by Andreas Bach, Stina Andersson, Ellinor Forsström (RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden), Karl Jivén, Helena Lundström (IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute) and Nicklas Blidberg (CLOSER / Lindholmen Science Park)

Reduced travel affected shipping the worst

The corona pandemic led to large reductions in Swedes’ travel. Of all traffic types, shipping was hit the hardest. Passenger transport decreased by 74 percent.

The long-term restrictions have led to large reductions in travel. Swedes’ travel decreased by 13 percent between March 2020 – August 2021, compared with 2019, Transport analyses writes in a new report published today.

As a result of reduced long-distance travel, mainly foreign travel and domestic tourism, transport work on Swedish territory decreased by 17 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to the report. Rail traffic decreased by 43 percent, aviation by 64 percent, and shipping by 74 percent.

“Passenger traffic has in principle been stagnant during 2020,” the Swedish Transport Agency wrote in the report The maritime market’s challenges that came in February 2021. However, it is not quite so gloomy, writes Transport analyses. No evidence that passenger traffic would have been completely stagnant in 2020 can be found in the statistics, but of course, the number of passengers has been significantly less during the corona pandemic than in 2019.

Travel to Finland (including Åland) has on average during the period March 2020 – June 2021 been one-sixth of previous levels, while travel to Denmark and other foreign destinations has decreased by just over half. Travel to Gotland has decreased by 27 percent on average.

Overall, travel decreased by 61 percent, but a certain recovery in the number of domestic passengers took place in the summer of 2020. When the second wave of the pandemic struck in the autumn of 2020, the number of passengers decreased again, compared to 2019. The decline for travels to Finland was still 75 percent in June 2021, while Gotland traffic was a quarter below the value of 2019.

So what happens now that the restrictions are gone? Will the travel habits continue? Traffic analysis writes that travel has increased clearly during periods of reduced restrictions and when the threat from infection decreases, it is conceivable that long-distance travel by air, sea traffic abroad and to Gotland, and long-distance train travel will approach previous levels. But long-distance travel can, of course, be reduced for other reasons, such as climate problems, rising energy costs and international unrest.

To the report

Momentum for increased cooperation in European shipping

The foundation has been laid, now there is a momentum to continue the cooperation between all public and private waterborne transport stakeholders towards a sustainable European shipping. This was stated by Åsa Burman, Vice-chair of the Board of Directors, Waterborne, when seven years of maritime research, development and innovation in Horizon 2020 were summed up at a workshop that attracted almost 500 participants.

Almost 90% of everything around us is moved by waterborne transport and the European waterborne transport sector is responsible for approximately 4.2 million direct jobs in the EU. Well aware of the strategic importance of the sector, the European Union has therefore invested in research, development and innovation towards smart, green and integrated waterborne transport. Within the framework of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, more than 70 projects were implemented during the years 2014 -2020. This according to a press release from Waterborne.

The key results from a number of projects, as well as concrete examples of implementation of the innovative solutions developed, were presented during the workshop.

Dirk Beckers, Director of the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) said:
“The project results presented today testify to the joint efforts made by the European Union and the European waterborne transport sector in developing concrete solutions for carbon-neutral, zero-accidents, automated and competitive waterborne transport.”

“Together with the waterborne transport sector, CINEA will continue to play a key role in further stimulating deployment by supporting first movers and by fostering synergies with other EU funding programmes”.

As Vice Chairman of Waterborne’s Board, Lighthouse’s director Åsa Burman also highlighted the growing commitment in the sector to reduce its climate footprint.
“The projects co-funded in the framework of Horizon 2020, have been essential to make the next steps regarding any transition. In addition, it facilitated the European waterborne transport sector to jointly work on a vision and mission towards 2050, which resulted in the Co-Programmed Partnership on Zero- Emission Waterborne Transport in the framework of Horizon Europe, said Åsa Burman.
She continued:
“Building upon the foundations laid over the past couple of years, the sector will be able to collectively provide policy guidance regarding research, development and innovation. However, in order to realise our high ambitions, deployment and competitiveness are key elements to be properly reflected upon as well. As shown today, with almost 500 participants present in the conference, there is a momentum to continue the cooperation between all public and private waterborne transport stakeholders, to ensure a beneficial future of the European waterborne transport sector. Thereby, we will significantly contribute to a bright future for everyone.”  

Footnote. Waterborne, the EU’s maritime and maritime technology platform, has been set up to establish a continuous dialogue between all actors in the sector (classification societies, shipbuilders, shipowners, maritime equipment manufacturers, infrastructure and service providers, universities or research institutes) and with the EU. Institutions, including Member States (www.waterborne.eu). The members of Waterborne represent 19 Member States. Lighthouse has been a member since 2019 and in September 2021 Åsa Burman was elected Vice Chairman of Waterborne’s Board.

To the workshop on Waterborne’s website

New report: Methanol best alternative shipping fuel

Hydrogen or ammonia? Neither. According to a new report, green methanol is the key to the climate-free shipping of the future.

There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen and ammonia as the marine fuels of the future. And in Longspur research’s (a finance company that invests in clean energy) report All at sea – Methanol and shipping, they are of course included in the discussion about which fuel is currently best suited to lead the way to fossil-free shipping.

However, the great potential of hydrogen is not as a fuel but as a building block for producing green ammonia and green methanol. which takes up precious space “, writes Longspur. Ammonia then? Ammonia does not require cryogenic tanks as it can be stored as a liquid at -33⁰C but it is toxic and there is a risk that nitrous oxide, which is a very strong greenhouse gas, is formed during combustion.

Ammonia’s main competitor, methanol, is no more toxic than conventional marine diesel. But methanol is not only easier to handle from a safety perspective, it also has other major benefits:
”Firstly, it is available today and is technology proven so can be selected for new build or it can be retrofitted to existing fleets. It is dense enough to be useable without significantly displacing load capacity and it is useable without too many hazards. It can be bunkered vessel to vessel or shore to vessel. Finally, it is the lowest cost option at the point of delivery”, writes Longspur. “If you take all these factors into account, it indicates that methanol is the best solution available today.”

Longspur is in good company. Recently, several giants in shipping have embraced methanol as a leading alternative fuel. Maersk has ordered several methanol-powered container vessels and Rolls-Royce plans to develop new high-speed engines that run on methanol. First, however, was Stena, which already in 2015 converted a ferry to methanol operation. In June 2021, they took another step when Stena Germanica refueled and test-drove a more sustainable methanol that has been recycled from the Swedish steel industry.

To the report

The Swedish Energy Agency’s maritime program ends

SEK 83 million in six years. There will not be more money for maritime research from the Swedish Energy Agency – at least not from the maritime program, which will not receive an extension.

All funds are now spent on the shipping program, which runs according to plan until the end of 2023. What happens next is unclear, says Magnus Henke at the Swedish Energy Agency.

“The Swedish Transport Administration has increased its funding for shipping in several rounds in recent years. When the Swedish Energy Agency made a strategic analysis around 2015 that pointed to the need for a shipping program, then it was 50 million annually from the Swedish Transport Administration while it is 100 million now. So the context of the outside world has changed, and even though shipping has received much more attention in recent years than before, you have to think about what is justified. How much can the industry receive? What does the industry need to change? Can we complement the Swedish Transport Administration’s efforts in a better way? These are the kind of issues we need to think about”, he says.

But the industry’s needs are expressed in the national agenda for shipping R & D & I, which was presented last year and which the Swedish Energy Agency was involved in producing?

“Of course, but that does not mean that we accept it outright without thinking for ourselves from the perspective of our mission. The agenda is an industrial truth, but we are guided by what we can do according to our regulation letter.”

The maritime program is relatively small and costs a lot to administer in relation to what comes out in research grants. Therefore, the Swedish Energy Agency is considering creating a new program structure that includes several types of traffic.

“Nothing is ready-made. We will try to have some strategic discussions soon, but it’s about shipping, aviation and maybe rail. But it depends a bit on political decisions. If we are going to have a high-speed railway in the country, it requires a lot of research efforts. The Swedish Transport Administration will certainly make some of them, but they do not have much vehicle issues and technology on their table. So the question is whether there is an industry that can receive research funding for relevant issues in the field of railways. An analysis is required.”

But what does this mean for shipping? Do one need to worry that there will be less money for maritime research?

“Yes, at least for one or two years. I do not think we have time for both a strategic analysis and construction of a program that will be announced in 2022”, says Magnus Henke.

Transfer of goods hardly takes place

“There are few signs that there has been a shift from road to rail and shipping, or that the conditions for this have improved over time”, writes Transport Analysis in a new report.

Transport Analysis report Godstransporter och konkurrenskraftens utveckling describe and analyze competitiveness in Sweden from a freight transport perspective. The results will be one of the basis for Transport Analysis final evaluation of the national freight transport strategy that the government presented in June 2018.

Some of the primary objectives of the freight transport strategy are to create the conditions for efficient, high-capacity and sustainable freight transport and to promote the shift of freight transport from road to rail and shipping. But Transport Analysis states that this has not happened to any great extent, despite the fact that it is a key issue for both shipping and the railway and despite the fact that it has been a recurring theme in the media reporting on freight transport.

So why is nothing happening? A prerequisite for this to happen is that the two modes of transport become more attractive and more competitive in relation to road transport. And it’s not easy done. Road transport is relatively cheap and fast, while rail and shipping are better suited for transport over longer distances.

Electrification is seen as an additional obstacle as it is expected to strengthen the competitiveness of road transport even more in relation to shipping and rail. There is no doubt about the superior position of road transport. In this context, it is worth mentioning that a shift is rarely discussed in the road transport industry media. This indicates that a shift  is not perceived as a threat to the haulage industry.

Läs Trafikanalys rapport

“So satisfying when I was able to present my results”

He likes high expectations, responsibilities and being able to perform together with others in projects. And that was exactly what distinguished Alfred Rapaport’s year as a Lighthouse Trainee. One of the highlights was to be trusted to lead his own project.

Alfa Laval in Tumba was the last of three companies that Alfred Rapaport worked for during his trainee year. According to plans, he would be there between May and September last year, but a project he had started was too big to be completed on time. So he stayed another three months.

“I developed a sales tool that was based on the fuel systems on ships. It was about showing what savings you can make, both in money and emissions, through different options of products. The idea is to be able to tailor the best solution according to the type of ship. Through the tool, shipowners can directly find out how much money they save and how much less carbon dioxide emissions are generated through the product they have chosen.”

It was tough at times but at the same time, he says, “very satisfying” when he was able to show the project’s results in December.

Was this the most fun that the trainee period generated?

“It was of course one of the highlights, but in summary I would say that the most fun has been the opportunity to be involved in several different projects. No matter what you do, I think it’s fun to work with others, to live up to expectations and to perform.”

He has tested various things, but says that alternative fuels have been a common thread throughout the trainee period. At Stena Teknik in Gothenburg, where he was first, he worked on a hydrogen project and at SSPA’s Stockholm office, he put a lot of effort into a study of the entire value chain of alternative fuels.

“I like to systematize and analyze, to try to sort out and get something meaningful out of a whole lot of information. This is something I have understood that I am good at”, says Alfred Rapaport and continues:

“The trainee program provides an insight into the industry and what opportunities there are at the same time as you will discover what you yourself think is fun and driven by.”

Despite the pandemic, he also had the opportunity to travel a bit and see shipping up close.

“At Stena, I got to take part in several weighings, when all weight on board is inventoried and the ship’s depth in the water is measured.”

One of the inventories was made at sea during severe weather on round trip between Karlskrona and Gdynia.

“It was a real adventure. My colleague became seasick and I had to run around in the engine room and all the various nooks and crannies and continue the investigation. The crew showed me around. It was fun to get to know them a little and see shipping for real.”

Born and raised in Stockholm and with a great interest in machines and vehicles, it was not a big surprise when Alfred Rapaport chose to study mechanical engineering at KTH after high school.

“Before the master’s, I chose marine systems. I have not regretted it. I did my master thesis job at Wallenius, in the project wPCC.”

In 2020, wPCC (Wind Powered Car Carrier) changed its name to Oceanbird. And for Alfred Rapaport, the circle is now closed. Since the turn of the year, he has been employed in the project that develops a wind-powered car carrier.

“I’m a performance engineer. I will deal with performance data, look at different cases around wind sails and what they could provide for savings and link this to the regulations regarding emissions that are underway. It’s exciting. I have really ended up at the right place”, says Alfred Rapaport.

To the trainee programme

Collaboration is the fuel of the future

The focus is on the fossil-free shipping of the future. But to get there, a new fuel is needed. At DNV’s webinar The fuel of the future, which was held on Tuesday, more than 5,000 participants learned that the fuel is spelled C-O-L-L-A-B-O-R-A-T-I-O-N. And across all borders.

As usual when major stakeholders in shipping arrange webinars, it all starts with yummy moving pictures and bloated music. The message is clear. “We have the power, we lead the work, we can. May the force be with us! ”. During his introductory speech, DNV’s CEO Remy Eriksen quotes Nelson Mandela:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. As we journey together down this difficult route, we can offer each other support and encouragement.”

We can’t just focus on a single alternative fuel, continued Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV’s maritime part.

“In order to achieve a truly sustainable shipping, we must instead collaborate. So what do I mean by that? Well, that actors from all disciplines, industries, countries work together to solve the biggest challenge of our time – climate change. This can’t be solved by shipping itself. The infrastructure, technology, energy solutions, regulations and financial support required are made possible only if everyone helps. No one can afford to ignore climate change.”

“This is not a competition. It’s a rescue operation.”

Several of the speakers, all from different parts of the industry, reiterated that in the future a palette of different fuels will probably be needed and it will take time to get there. But even if it takes until after 2030 before any real fossil-free alternative exists, many shipowners will have to choose a route now because new ships will sail for more than 25 years. That is why hybrid development is important, said Søren Toft, CEO of MSC, who also emphasized that the fuels of the future will be much more expensive than today.

“To cover costs and to reduce the gap between fossil fuels and alternative fuels, we are in favor of introducing some form of carbon dioxide tax. We also support the proposal of a global research and development fund that should be administered within the IMO.”

It is easy to say that we must cooperate. But how to do it in practice? What do you collaborate on?

“I see mainly two areas. One concerns technology development. In order to find the solutions to the transition of shipping, actors both within and outside shipping must cooperate. For a study on the development of ammonia as a fuel, we engaged, for example, 21 different industry partners from the entire supply chain. Another example concerns the development of biofuels where there is great potential to collaborate with the aircraft industry”, said Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of the Global Center for Maritime Decarbonisation.

“The second area is about regulations. We must get together and with a single voice press for the IMO to reach a decision on the issue. Time is short.”

What can you more specifically collaborate on? The webinar’s concluding panel discussion gave a hint when moderator Julian Bray, editor-in-chief of TradeWinds, asked the question: “If you could give $ 100,000,000 to one or two projects, what would you invest in then?” Among the answers were demonstration projects on ammonia, carbon capture and storage, retrofit of existing vessels, wind and sails, research for an alternative to the internal combustion engine and pilot projects on the development of green corridors.

Watch the webinar

Got his dream job right after the Trainee programme

The Lighthouse Trainee programme provides a boost straight into the shipping industry. Just ask Erik Blackert. Immediately after the trainee year, he got the job he was aiming for.

“I’m a naval architect at Wallenius Marine. I work with hull design, count on stability and participate in veryfing the design of new vessels. It’s fun. That’s what I studied for and hoped for”, says Erik Blackert.

He started on October 1, just after his year as a Lighthouse trainee. So, in other words he reached his goal right away. But how did it all start – when did he realize he wanted to be a shipbuilder?

“Boats have always been an interest, I like sailing in my spare time and have had a sailboat with my brother for a few years now. When I found out you could focus on shipbuilding for the master, it felt like a natural choice.”

After getting a bachelor’s degree, he left his hometown of Linköping for Stockholm and KTH. Last year, he took his master’s degree as a Naval Architect and then applied to the Lighthouse trainee programme and was accepted. In September 2020, he began his first trainee period at Floatel. This was followed by Wallenius Marine in January and Kongsberg in Kristinehamn in May.

“I did different things in different places. At Floatel, I compiled statistics from the operation of their rigs, which were used to predict service needs. I was also involved in a calculation of a battery hybrid and what it would mean operationally.”

At Wallenius Marine, he helped with the Oceanbird project and, among other things, produced figures on how much energy consumption would be saved on the wind-powered vessel compared with the company’s existing vessels. He also did a study on the suitability of solar panels on ships.

“Oceanbird must maintain a minimum speed and if the wind is not enough, it must run on engine power. And regardless of whether you go for wind, electricity is required to power the kitchen, heating and other systems on board.”

Of course, doing trainee periods in the middle of an ongoing pandemic is not optimal. But Erik Blackert still thinks it worked well.

“At all companies, I was allowed to be at the office at least a few days a week. It was very nice to not only have to work from home as a newcomer. I also got the chance to go on two trips, a trip to Bergen to visit one of Floatel’s rigs and a tour of the Baltic Sea with one of Wallenius’ ships.”

Via Teams, he also got to participate in some international meetings and even though it is not the same as meetings in real life, the Trainee program has still generated some contacts.

“It is a good programme that you should go if given the chance. Then it’s a bit up to you to push yourself so you get tasks you think are fun. It requires a little commitment and I recommend you to read about the companies and try to get an idea of ​​what you can do to contribute.”

So what’s the best thing about the Trainee programme?

“That you get to get to know how the culture is in different workplaces. And of course, the skills you acquire. You get an insight into different parts of the industry. I have worked at a shipping company, a newbuilding office and a subcontractor. I have really gained a broad perspective from the industry”, says Erik Blackert.

The application period for the trainee program runs until 31 January. Read more and apply.

2021 – the year when it became serious

A container crisis and a ship that blocked the Suez Canal highlighted the importance of shipping to the world and how vulnerable the system is that feeds us. But most important, at least for maritime research, was a tough climate package from the EU and an alarming report from the UN Climate Panel. Finally, what we at Lighthouse are doing became “important for real”.
Here we present a selection of what we have been doing in 2021.

At Lighthouse, we can not talk about 2021 without mentioning 2020 and especpially March 5 that year. It was the last day we worked together in the office on Lindholmen before one of us became ill and the pandemic struck. That day the whole industry visited us, well at least a lot of representatives of it. A major project that would last all that year and a bit into 2021 had just begun and now a first major workshop was held on the road to a common position in a National agenda for Maritime Research and Innovation. No one suspected that it would be the last physical workshop before zoom and teams took over.

Just over a year later, NRIA Maritime 2021 could still be handed over to Minister of Trade and Industry Ibrahim Baylan. The agenda was presented at a webinar and a debate article was published in Altinget.

Despite the pandemic and homework, Lighthouse continued its work with pre-studies, innovation projects and research projects relatively undisturbed in 2021. Within the Swedish Transport Administration’s industry program, several new projects were started at the same time as others were completed. These were presented in a total of 18 popular science articles on the Lighthouse website that deal with everything from smart ships, safety and improved working environment to carbon dioxide capture, hydrogen and light weight electric ships. The latter was dedicated to its own webinar (Electric Light) in early July, while others have already been presented at the webinar Spring results from Sustainable Shipping in March.

The impact of shipping is not only about the climate but also about the marine environment. Research on antifouling paints, toxic emissions and shipping’s contribution to eutrophication must therefore not be overshadowed. This also applies to the research on underwater noise – the emission that is not visible – which was discussed at a webinar in May.

A hot issue in shipping during the year has been the inclusion of shipping in the EU ETS – the EU’s emissions trading system. Lighthouse published a feasibility study on the issue already in May 2020 and quite exactly one year later we conducted a webinar on the topic.

In addition to the industry program Sustainable Shipping, three more pre-studies dealing with current issues have been completed. In August, two of these were published; one on how healthcare can be improved on board and one on how shipping coped with the pandemic’s first year. But how should all research and development projects be structured and coordinated now that investments in sustainable shipping are expected to increase? The answer came in the form of a Lighthouse pre-study done by researchers at Chalmers and IVL which was published in November.

“Just-in-Time” a complicated issue for shipping

Combining “Just-in-Time” arrival with slow steaming is the best measure to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in port areas. But first, some barriers must be removed. This according to a new pre-study carried out within the Swedish Transport Administration’s industry program Sustainable Shipping, which Lighthouse runs.

The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the single largest source of air pollution in Southern California. Together, they emit more smog- and particle-forming nitrogen oxides than the 6 million cars in the region do, and ship pollution is estimated to cause more than 1,300 deaths a year in Los Angeles. Right now it’s supposed to be worse than ever. In November, record-breaking queues were reported outside the Port of Los Angeles – 83 ships were anchored and had to wait an average of 17 days to arrive in port.

In the port of Gothenburg the problem is not close to being as large, but the anchoring time when ships are waiting for laycan (the time frame within which the carrier according to a freight agreement has the right to dispose of the ship for loading and unloading) or on available quay is still a significant source to emissions. The Port of Gothenburg has therefore, together with researchers at IVL, the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers, conducted the pre-study BRAVE ECO (Benchmark for Reduction of Anchoring Vessels’ Emissions – Enabling Change of Operation) and evaluated the possibilities to reduce air emissions from ships anchored in port areas.

“The study showed that it is mainly tankers that anchor in Gothenburg. Measures to reduce the anchoring time should therefore focus on that segment, says Fredrik Rauer, project manager at the Port of Gothenburg, who led the work on the pre-study.

The results also show that using time to slow steam have a much greater potential to reduce emissions than if the ships would only reduce the time at anchor (by using fewer ships to perform the same transport work). This is especially true for the initial speed reductions (10-14 knots).

“Just-in-Time” combined with reduced speed, slow steaming, is the most appropriate first measure to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in port areas.”

Fredrik Rauer describes “Just in time” (JIT) as a simple concept – it is all about adjusting the speed until the port is ready. In other logistics chains it has been introduced without major problems, but in shipping it is not as simple.

– Shipping is one of the oldest ways of transporting goods and there are deep traditions for how it should be conducted. Every transport is worth lot of money and many parties are involved. There are many different types of contracts related to ship transport. The question is who should start a change. As a port, for example, we regulate the queue order into the port, but we can not control that the ships slow down.

There are many barriers that need to be addressed, such as: lack of trust, improving information sharing (actors now communicate via phone or email), loss of income (due to demurrage), attitudes in the industry, the “first come, first serve” concept, risk of missing estimated time of arrival and port infrastructure. But despite the barriers, there is a will to change, says Fredrik Rauer.

“Different attempts are made. Several ports work in different ways with JIT. In Rotterdam, their digital platform shows the business case in JIT-Arrival. Tanger Med has tested JIT trips with container vessels. And in Gävle, it will be introduced that you have to answer a JIT request.”

So how long does it take before JIT gets a wide use?

“It is a difficult question, but I think we will see a transition to this within the next few years. Several things speak for themselves. On the one hand, there are clearer requirements for reduced emissions, and on the other hand, product owners are more interested than before, at the same time as standardization is beginning to be defined”, says Fredrik Rauer.

Only water in the “exhaust pipe” on Gotland Horizon

A large-scale Gotland ferry that runs on hydrogen as early as 2030? When Björn Samuelsson first thought about the concept, he quickly condemned it. Now he is leading the project that will make it possible.

It is only about a year ago that Björn Samuelsson, researcher in quality technology at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland and Destination Gotland’s then CEO, Christer Bruzelius, discussed possible paths towards fossil-free Gotland ferries. Hydrogen, which all the industry then suddenly had started talking about, came up of course.

“Our first reaction was; “No, it’s not possible, the ship is too big and the distance too long. Forget that.”

But maybe? They decided to go home and calculate separately. Both came to the same result: It is possible!

“Since then, we have worked intensively to produce data and and come to the conclusion that the concept is worth moving forward with.”

What about other techniques? Björn Samuelsson believes that the future requires a palette of different alternatives.

“I think that battery operation is preferable where the distances are smaller. For example, I think the sheep ferry would be ideal to electrify, maybe it also works with Stena’s Denmark traffic. But somewhere there is the limit.”

He is hesitant about biofuels, even though this would have been the simplest solution for the Gotland traffic – it would not even been necessary to change the existing vessels engines.

– The availability of LBG is limited and is not a reasonable long-term alternative. Gotlandsbolaget sees LNG as a step on the way to a better solution.

What then remains are electric fuels – fuels produced using hydrogen. The problem is that today 96-97 percent of all hydrogen is produced with the help of fossil fuels. But it can also be made green. Björn Samuelsson is now leading a research project that has received support from the Swedish Energy Agency’s shipping program to develop and evaluate system solutions for using hydrogen in Gotland’s ferry traffic. The entire supply chain from electricity production to propellers will be studied.

The big challenge with hydrogen is its volume. So why not make ammonia or methanol from green hydrogen?

– An additional process step costs energy. Ammonia is also an extremely toxic substance and the tank would be an excellent target for terrorists.

– The advantage of Ammonia and Methanol is that we can create liquids that are easier to handle, but they have an energy content that is a fraction of what hydrogen gas has per unit weight. The problem is that hydrogen, which is our lightest molecule, takes up so much space. On large ships it can be solved, but for long transports one must consider whether it is possible or whether it must be converted to liquid form.

Björn Samuelsson and his seven research colleagues in the project will find out which alternative is best to use on the concept vessel Gotland Horizon, which will be in use by 2030. No one knows whether the hydrogen gas will be produced on Gotland or on the mainland. Maybe there is not even enough green hydrogen in 2030.

– It is possible that we will be forced to run on gray hydrogen at first. The important thing is that we change and get started with the use of hydrogen. The capacity can be expanded gradually.

New security risks must be managed

Safety at sea has improved significantly over the past decade and losses in both human lives and vessels have decreased. Still, there is cause for concern. The positive safety development can be slowed down by new technology and new fuels, warns DNV and Lloyd’s list.

The ship Almirante Storni, which had been burning outside Vinga for a week, had barely been towed into the port of Gothenburg before the reports of another major shipping accident on Swedish waters came. Last night, two cargo ships collided on the Baltic Sea, one of which capsized and ended up upside down. There were two people on board who were still missing at the time of writing.

When two such serious accidents happen in a short time, it can be difficult to grasp that the number of ship accidents is decreasing. But they do. Between 2012 and 2021, ship losses in world shipping decreased by 56% and the number of deaths fell from 1,900 a year to 1,400.

At the same time, the world fleet grew from 116,000 to 130,000 ships. It shows a new report, Maritime safety 2012-2021: a decade of progress, from Lloyd’s list and DNV.

“Measures such as digitized systems, modern class rules, better vessels, tighter regulatory supervision and, crucially, an improved safety culture have contributed to this welcome safety trend,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime in a press release.

But already earlier this year, DNV warned in the report Closing the safety gap in an era of transformation that the focus on increased digitization and reduced carbon dioxide emissions creates new safety risks in shipping. This concerns fire and explosion risks as well as security issues around increasingly complex digital systems.

”There can be no trade-off between safety and sustainability. As shipping pursues a path towards decarbonization, this will require a rethink of risk management with a renewed focus on human and organisational factors to ensure safety remains at the core of the development of new fuel systems and digitalized ways of working,” Ørbeck-Nilssen continues.

Almost half (48%) of the total of 21,746 accidents during the ten-year period were due to damage to the hull and engine (H&M) and surprisingly, there was an increase in just such incidents on ships that are between 10 and 14 years old, which DNV thinks is worrying .

“The major challenge is to close the safety gap emerging from cyber threats, new technologies and new fuels. Mitigation of these risks will be vital going forward to realise the enormous potential benefits of digital and low-carbon fuel technologies for safety, efficiency and sustainability towards a goal of continuous improvement,” added Ørbeck-Nilssen and notes that despite a positive trend, there is no room for complacency.

To the report

Delivery at any price

In the US, Amazon’s items have had an average price increase of 25 percent since January. The cause of this is believed to be increased transport costs and large investments to better control the complicated supply chain. IKEA, Walmart and Target have done the same. A new report points to strong ties between the retail giants and the world’s 15 largest container companies.

At the end of November, freight analyst Steve Ferreira told CNBC that there were 79 ships outside Los Angeles waiting up to 45 days to com into the harbour. In the last days, he had also followed how Amazon’s latest self-chartered ship entered the United States via a small port in the state of Washington.

“It waited to days in the harbour.”

The goods were then driven by truck to Los Angeles.

“So Amazon’s really taken advantage of some of the niche strategies I believe that the market needs to employ”, Ferreira stated.

Amazon now ships 72% of its goods itself. Despite this, Amazon has seen a 14% rise in out-of-stock items and an average price increase of 25% since January 2021, according to e-commerce management platform. It’s easy to understand. Last year Amazon spent $ 61 billion on shipping, which is comparable to $ 38 billion in 2019.

“Ultimately, when there’s an increase in the cost of transportation, it gets passed down to the consumer”, said Margaret Kidd, a logistics researcher at the University of Houston in the same feature.

Amazon is not alone in the retail trade in investing in its own shipping. An ever-increasing pressure on consumption, which became particularly evident during the pandemic year, has also led IKEA, Walmart and Target to do the same. According to the report Shady Routes, produced by the Stand.earth research group and the Pacific Environment, close cooperation between individual retail giants and various container companies has led to record breaking profits.

The companies are satisfied. It is also, one must assume, the customers who pay more for their stuff than they did just a few months ago. The big loser is the climate. If shipping were a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest climate polluter, the researchers write in the report. The four companies surveyed (Walmart, Target, Amazon and

IKEA) imports of goods to the United States via shipping in 2018-2020 accounted for an estimated 20 million tonnes Carbon dioxide equivalents.

The shipments were made by a few of the world’s largest container companies with which the retail giants have long had close collaborations. The French carrier CMA CGM, which handles most of Walmart’s transports to the United States, is the worst polluter of alla carriers in the report. The company alone accounted for 35 percent of the four trading companies’ greenhouse gas emissions, which is about as much as the four following carriers on the list emitted together. The second largest polluter, Maersk, accounted for 9 percent. CMA CGM made a profit of $ 31 billion by 2020.

Walmart is the largest importer, accounting for more than half of the four companies’ climate emissions, followed by Target, which accounted for a third. Amazon and Ikea, which together accounted for only 13 percent of emissions, are highlighted in the report for their investments in green transport. Ikea, for example, transports its goods by rail from China to Europe before being shipped on to the USA via shipping.

The report

No funding for icebreakers

The Swedish Maritime Administration wants that the purchase of new icebreakers to be included in the national infrastructure plan. However, when the Swedish Transport Administration presented its proposal for a plan on Tuesday, the icebreakers were left out. There is now a concern that it will take too long before the new vessels are in place.

According to the Swedish Transport Administration, there is a lack of money, but above all there is another problem – the ordinance on the national plan for transport infrastructure does not allow investment in icebreakers.

“What must happen is that politics steps in and says that the icebreakers must be prioritized and put into the plan”, says Anders Dahl, head of the icebreaking unit at the Swedish Maritime Administration.

The Transport Administration proposal is now out for a consultation round until January, so there is still time for change.

“I do not dare to believe or think anything, it is pure and simple politics it is about, but it is clear that we hope that the icebreakers are included. That is what we have advocated because we see it as the most natural way to finance.”

There are two other financing alternatives for the Swedish Maritime Administration – either through a direct grant from the government or through fee increases. However, the latter would hit shipping unreasonably hard, says Anders Dahl.

“It is also a decision that we do not own ourselves because we are not allowed to increase the fees so much.”

But he thinks it will work out. The question is only when. What worries is that the decision on financing takes time.

“We are already behind. And when the decision is made, there is still a long way to go, he says and continues:

“We are currently in the design process. When it’s finished in March, we are ready to go to procurement, which we must do. Otherwise there will be huge delays. There is a great need for the new icebreakers to be in place around 2025 – 2026”, says Anders Dahl.

Proposal for a national strategy for fossil-free hydrogen presented

The Swedish Energy Agency has today presented its proposal for a national strategy for fossil-free hydrogen, electric fuels and ammonia to the government. The strategy sets concrete goals for both 2030 and 2045.

By 2045, five years before the EU, Sweden will not have any emissions of greenhouse gases in order to achieve negative emissions thereafter. In that goal, hydrogen will play an important role, primarily for the industrial sector but of course also for the transport sector.

– The strategy must set a direction that can be shared by both the state and business. It must also make clear what conditions need to be in place for us to be able to utilize the potential that the use of hydrogen and electric fuels offers, says the Swedish Energy Agency’s Director General Robert Andrén, in a press release.

The Swedish Energy Agency proposes two goals for electrolyser capacity. The goal by 2030 is to create conditions for 5 GW (electricity) electrolyser capacity and an additional 10 GW (electricity) electrolyser capacity by 2045, a total of 15 GW. This could reduce Sweden’s emissions by between 3 and 6 percent by 2030 and between 15 – 30 percent by 2040 compared with today.

The Government will now take part in the proposed strategy in its entirety and the proposals will be prepared within the Government Offices.

Swedish shipping is doing better, but how environmentally friendly is it?

During the first half of 2021, both freight and passenger traffic increased and the unemployment rates fell sharply. Swedish shipping’s international competitive situation looks promising, states Trafikanalys in a new report. At the same time, the environmental efficiency of shipping is being questioned.

Statistics from Trafikanalys have previously shown that shipping, especially passenger traffic, was hit hard during the pandemic year 2020. The number of passengers was more than halved, lines were closed and up to two thousand people lost their jobs. Things went better for freight traffic – the reduction was a few percent.

In the first quarter of 2021, the decrease (-61%) in international travel by ship continued compared with the first quarter of 2020, writes Trafikanalys in the report Swedish Shipping’s international competitive situation in 2021. However, the second quarter reversed the trend as the number of passengers almost doubled compared to the same quarter in 2020. development the same line, but the differences in decreases and increases are only about a few percent.

Unemployment is also following the same trend. In 2020, the number of onboard employees in the Swedish-registered fleet decreased by 32 percent. During the second quarter of 2021, however, there was a turnaround and in May and June, unemployment among seafarers was almost 50 percent lower than in the same months in 2020.

In summary, Trafikanalys states that 2020 was not a positive year for Swedish shipping’s international competitive situation, but that 2021 looks more promising.

But there are things to do. Traffic analysis highlights, for example, that research is important for Swedish shipping’s international competitive situation and that the Swedish state’s role as research funder is a means of competition where the state can influence the direction of Swedish maritime research.

There is a need for this. Because how environmentally friendly is shipping really? Traffic analysis addresses the government’s ambition to move goods from road transport to shipping. “One reason for this is that shipping is a type of traffic without congestion, but also that it is relatively efficient in terms of environmental emissions per tonne-kilometer and that the infrastructure is cheap. However, a comparison of the external effects of shipping with other modes of transport suggests that shipping is not necessarily the most appropriate mode of transport “, writes Trafikanalys and continues:

“When it comes to calculating shipping’s transport work and fuel consumption, the socio – economic costs of freight shipping are comparable to those for heavy trucks with trailers. If you calculate the socio-economic costs of ferry traffic per passenger kilometer (and take into account the goods on board the ferry), the costs are higher than for both petrol-powered cars and flights. However, the conditions vary greatly between different categories of vessels. “

The report (in swedish)

New pre-study: Research and development must be coordinated

Suddenly it’s for real. The world has decided that the human climate impact must be reduced and investments in the transition to sustainable shipping increased. That is why it is more important than ever that all research and development projects are structured and coordinated, say the researchers behind a new pre-study from Lighthouse.

Before researchers start a project, they always try to check what has been done before in the field and what’s going on. That’s usually not that easy, says Selma Brynolf, researcher at Chalmers.

“You often find what is published. But it is more difficult with projects that are underway or have not started. They are often not visible when you search because nothing has been published from them”, she says.

With the current situation, there is a risk that the wheel will be invented twice, ie that researchers in different places will do the same things. Selma Brynolf also believes that there is a risk that everyone moves in the same direction and that important research areas disappear in the noise of everything that happens. As an example she mentions the fact that not much research is done on how the existing fleet should be decarbonized.

Selma Brynolf is one of the researchers behind a new Lighthouse pre-study that examines how Research and development towards sustainable shipping should be structured and coordinated in Sweden. Another is Karl Jivén, a researcher at IVL:

“The feeling is a bit like that we have been preparing for 20 years and that things are really happening now. Now there is a hope that we will be able to solve this issue because so many are working on the problem”, he says.

Therefore, a better overview is needed. Due to the structure of the industry with many smaller stakeholders, the need is greater than in other industries. In shipping, even those who are familiar with it have difficulty with the overview.

“If we do not do something about this, the risk is not only that the changeover will be slower. There is also a risk that we will slip behind our neighbors. In both Norway and Denmark, for example, they are investing a lot”, says Karl Jivén.

So what should a national initiative for better coordination look like?

“Attempts have been made in such areas before, but have often failed because they have not received the update or the resources required to keep them alive. Therefore, it is important that the compilations are kept simple at first, perhaps with a requirement for the financiers to report when projects take place”, says Selma Brynolf.

The pre-study proposes that the information collected should be processed, made available and compiled regularly in such a way that efficient searches can be easily carried out by users. It must also be quality reviewed and kept up to date and relevant to users.

A national database would have many advantages; for example, the use of R&D funds would be streamlined and collaborations would be simplified and initiated more easily. Research funders would also find it easier to assess whether issues have been investigated and it would be easier to identify areas where there are knowledge gaps.

So finally, the big question: who is going to do the job? The pre-study suggests Lighthouse.

– It’s logical. As the Swedish and neutral collaboration platform for maritime research, Lighthouse have the overview. But regardless of the player, funds for this are needed, says Selma Brynolf.

The pre-study has been carried out in close collaboration with Wallenius Marine and Lighthouse.
Authors: Karl Jivén (IVL), Selma Brynolf (Chalmers), Erik Fridell (IVL) and Linda Styhre (IVL).

What if LNG carriers can run on several alternative fuels?

It is often said that today’s LNG vessels will run on biogas in the future. But why rely on a single carbon-neutral fuel whose availability is uncertain in the future? The possibility of rebuilding and running LNG vessels on ammonia are now studied by different actors.

In the absence of green alternative fuels, the European Commission has determined that LNG is necessary as a transitional fuel. The EU’s attitude has been criticized by the environmental movement, which claims that the use of LNG will delay the introduction of zero/carbon-neutral fuels. The Swedish Energy Agency has also questioned the EU’s requirements for the expansion of an infrastructure for fossil fuels.

But a sudden switch to electro-fuels and advanced biofuels is unrealistic due to supply issues

“The truth is that we still have very little renewable energy and hydrogen or decarbonized forms of energy available in Europe”, said Joaquim Nunes de Almeida, director for energy-intensive industries and mobility with the European Commission’s DG GROW, at a conference on green innovation in the maritime sector some weeks ago.

Today, less than one percent of the world’s ships run on alternative fuels, but there will be more. According to DNV, 12 percent of all orders for new constructions that are made today have alternative fuel systems with LNG leading the way. So which zero/carbon-neutral fuel would dominate the future?

“No one has the exact answer to how this will develop, but my gut feeling is that in the future we will see a combination of different technologies”, said CLIA Europe’s Ukko Metsola at the same conference.

Of course, he is not alone in that gut feeling. In its latest Maritime forecast to 2050, DNV GL takes a closer look at how an LNG vessel could be rebuilt into a vessel with a dual-fuel engine that can also run on ammonia. Of course, there are real challenges here. Engines will need to be modified as well as the ship’s tanks. Ammonia is only half as energy-dense as LNG. This means that the mileage is reduced for a ship that converts from LNG to ammonia with the help of existing tanks. Compensated measures, such as fuel storage, will be required, writes DNV. Ammonia is also significantly heavier than LNG, which will require strengthening of the fuel tanks. Since ammonia is also more toxic than methane, other requirements will be set for, for example, safety distances, ventilation and fuel preparation rooms.

But a conversion is possible. On the same day as this is written, the news comes that Wärtsilä will join forces with Simon Møkster Shipping to investigate the possibilities of developing a dual-fuel engine that has ammonia as primary fuel and LNG as an alternative. The benefits of this are of course many, not least from an accessibility perspective. Or as DNV writes: “Assume, for illustrative purposes only, a 30% probability that one of the carbon-neutral fuel options being contemplated (e.g. ammonia, biodiesel, methanol) is not available when needed. If the ship can use two of these fuels, the risk of not obtaining the fuel needed to be compliant drops from 30% to 9%. If the vessel can use three fuels, this risk drops to 3%.”

DNVs Maritime forecast to 2050

Digitization the way forward for the ports

Automated cargo handling is far in the future for most Swedish ports. Significantly more interesting is to use the possibilities of digitization to make port calls, including loading and unloading, more efficient. A new pre-study carried out within the Swedish Transport Administration’s industry program Sustainable Shipping shows that Swedish ports are good at understanding their stakeholders and seeing their role as a logistics node in a larger transport system.

With the help of automatic and remote-controlled cranes, large ports around the world have come a long way with automation of loading and unloading.

“It is primarily container calls that are automated and it is still associated with expensive investments and large volumes. This is not where Swedish ports see the main potential today”, says Linea Kjellsdotter Ivert, one of the researchers behind the pre-study Intressentanalys av Sveriges hamninfrastruktur.

Digitization itself is a different ballgame. Sweden is at the forefront of technological development with digital administration and communication systems to achieve “smart” and more efficient port calls and the Swedish ports are very engaged.

“The right thinking about efficiency, fast flows and customer service can provide competitive advantages. Digitization will be a tool to achieve this”, says Linea Kjellsdotter Ivert and continues:

“A clear trend is that the market role is becoming increasingly important for Swedish ports. It is important to understand and work with their customers, such as product owners, logistics companies and shipping companies. In the interview study carried out within the framework of the project, it is clear that Swedish ports are good at understanding their stakeholders and at seeing their role as an important hub in a larger transport system.”

However, it appears that there is to large extent an overcapacity in the Swedish port infrastructure, which can lead to difficulties in reaching a high level of service in a cost-effective manner. Furthermore, there are several stakeholders who believe that it is difficult to get staff after regular working hours at a reasonable cost. Still the conditions of the stevedoring are largely outside the port’s direct control.

“Something that many stakeholders are thinking about is the number of ports in Sweden. The competition is fierce and many ports are working hard to increase their volumes. There are different strategies for that. Some ports try to attract volumes at the expense of other ports, others ally with each other and try to find different ways, for example by allocating segments, to compete.”

“Some stakeholders are convinced that many ports are needed to bring about a transfer of transport from road to sea. Others find it difficult to see the need and believe that there are too many ports in Sweden to achieve efficiency”, says Linea Kjellsdotter Ivert.

The pre-study is based on twenty-four interviews with ports, commodity owners, shipping companies, freight forwarders, terminal operators, port authorities and regions and municipalities. A review of the Swedish Transport Administration’s forecasts of freight volumes has also been made.

The study was conducted by Linea Kjellsdotter Ivert, Axel Merkel, Joakim Kalantari (all at VTI) and Vendela Santén, Martin Svanberg and Sönke von Wieding (all at SSPA).

New report: It is possible to decarbonize shipping by 2050

Industry action combined with regulations an a global carbon price. In a new report, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping presents a strategy for how shipping will be fossil-free by 2050.

In global shipping, the will and commitment to combat climate change has increased dramatically in recent years, Maersk writes in its report. Shipping companies have set goals for their own decarbonization, ships with alternative propulsion are ordered and much more is in the pipeline. But it’s not enough. Even if all the commitments that exist today are fulfilled, only 22 percent of shipping will still be fossil-free by 2050. Due to the fact that transport is increasing, in fact, carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are estimated to increase by 20 percent.

However, it is possible to get down to zero in 2050, Maersk states. What is required is a total change of the entire industry’s business ecosystem. Of course, this is a very complex task and measures must be implemented now or in the next few years. The report identifies four main drivers that will be needed within this decade for fossil-free shipping to be achieved by 2050:

A level playing field through global regulation: A flat carbon levy of USD 230 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted implemented in 2025, combined with requirements for the development of energy efficiency, customer willingness to pay and the introduction of new global policies. If funds are earmarked and returned to early users of alternative fuels, the costs for these can be reduced.

Competitive alternative marine fuels at large scale: When the price is between twice and eight times as expensive as compared to fossil fuels, the incentives to switch to alternative marine fuels are limited. Therefore, alternative fuels (hydrogen, methanol, ammonia, methane, biogas, etc.) must be made commercially viable and available on a large scale through innovation and development of permits, licenses, standards, regulations, new market mechanisms and documentation of reduced emission intensity from a life cycle analysis perspective.

More and better energy efficiency measures: Tougher and stricter rules for energy efficiency must be introduced to reduce the industry’s total energy needs. Today, it is possible to streamline and improve operational practices with the help of digital technology and analysis, but this is not generally implemented. The total potential for higher energy efficiency in the global fleet is still very large.

Support for front runners: Those who are already working to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions should not be penalized. These front runners must be widely supported in their efforts and regulatory measures must be put in place to ensure a broader adoption of change. The cost gap between fossil fuels and alternative fuels must also be reduced.

To the report

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