DNV: the ‘decisive decade’ for decarbonisation


This is the ‘decisive decade’ for shipping, said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, DNV’s Chief Executive Officer, Maritime, as he discussed the findings of the classification society’s latest ‘Maritime Forecast to 2050’ report yesterday at London International Shipping Week.

“The clock is ticking – we all know that,” he said. The drive for decarbonisation has been accelerated by the IMO’s revised GHG strategy, he said. “The ambition level for 2030 (to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20%) might not seem that ambitious but I can assure you, it is very ambitious. I would say it is bordering on the unrealistic. We all know we need to decarbonise. The question is, how can we do that with such a limited time ahead of us to 2030?”

DNV’s analysis of alternative fuel supplies concluded that many of the necessary investment decisions have not been made yet, he said. “Shipping will need 20-40% of the total global supply of green fuels and that is quite a daunting task – and many of those producers are not even thinking about providing the fuels to shipping.”

The industry really needs to think ‘beyond fuels’, he said. Slow steaming makes sense, “but we really need to take energy efficiency to the next level.”

Net Zero by 2050 is ‘a little bit more open terrain’, said Ørbeck-Nilssen. “We have more time. There could be some more technologies.”

DNV’s report considered two technologies that could be transformative – carbon capture and storage onboard, and nuclear propulsion, described by the CEO as “obviously with many advantages when it comes to reducing emissions, but also significant hurdles when it comes to public opinion”.

Ørbeck-Nilssen said shipping had managed great challenges before, and he urged more collaboration in the journey to decarbonisation. “Collaboration doesn’t only mean within the shipping industry but it also means across sectors, with those that produce the energy and those that distribute the energy and not least with the ports which will provide the energy to the vessels.”

Highlights from the 2023 Maritime Forecast to 2050 were presented by Eirik Ovrum, DNV’s Principal Consultant, Environment Advisory, and lead author of the report. In its recommendations, DNV said shipowners should: reduce energy consumption now; consider all decarbonisation options; focus on fuel flexibility; and consider long-term fuel strategy.
During a panel discussion around ‘How to shape Maritime’s energy future’, a finance warning emerged. Christoph Toepfer, CEO of Borealis Maritime, said: “We have seen a significant diversion of capital away from shipping. For a lot of investors that have to take into account Scope 3 emissions, they cannot invest into shipping because this would exceed their targets.”
He called for more, stronger green corridors, and said that to reduce carbon quickly, “we should tackle the big vessels first”. Jan Dieleman, President of Cargill Ocean Transportation and Chair of the Global Maritime Forum, said: “If we want to accelerate the transition, we have to make it as cheap as possible.”

Availability of fuel is key, along with a very efficient supply chain, he said. However, while the industry likes to talk about fuel supplies – “we also have to send the right demand signals”.