Bumpy roads ahead but shipping able to manage, says DNV’s Ørbeck-Nilssen


The shipping industry is facing three ‘major tectonic shifts’ in the coming years – but is well equipped to manage the bumpy road ahead, DNV’s Maritime CEO, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen told media at a pre-Christmas event in London.

After reflecting on “a couple of remarkable years” including the super-cycle of container newbuilding activity, he said: “If you look a little bit beyond that, it is really three major tectonic shifts, not only in shipping but also affecting shipping.”

The first of these, he said, was unpredictable markets and geopolitical shocks. “Coming out of the pandemic, we thought it would be a better year, and suddenly we had the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the very brutal behaviour of the authorities in Iran.”

The second shift is how decarbonisation is setting the agenda and defining the ESG revolution, said Ørbeck-Nilssen. “It is totally affecting everything – not only in terms of regulatory requirements but also how companies are acting together.”

Going forward, this isn’t just an issue of being compliant with rules and regulations, he noted, “but also about knowing what you emit and being able two explain and validate and document how you are making progress.”

Thirdly, he highlighted technology. “We talk a lot about new fuels but there are so many things about digitalisation and energy efficiency.”

Cyber security is also moving up the agenda and will be a topic for years to come, he said.

“What is ahead of us?” he concluded. “There will be bumpy roads in 2023 but I am sure we will be able to manage, as we have managed bumpy roads in the past,” he said, adding: “And I am not talking about greenwashing but what it is actually capable of delivering.”