Shipping at the Turning Point – Opportunity or Threat?


International shipping community will face a lot of challenges in coming years. Some owners and operators might think this is a great opportunity while others might see a massive threat coming up. Is it a threat or an opportunity? I will try to figure it out below where I listed some hot topics.


Sustainability

Still some years ago the term sustainability was considered more like a marketing term in customer relations, but lately also the substance actions have been noticed. What can be considered as sustainable shipping? For me, personally, sustainability means leaving as many opportunities as we have had, if not more, for our children and future generations. To answer the question: there is no definite right or wrong answer, but every effort will affect for sure.


Decarbonizing

This is perhaps the most shaking topic recently within shipping industry. Everyone within the industry have for sure an opinion about this.


Still, it is a bit unclear what consequences ETS, FuelEU maritime and other decarbonizing measures will bring along. Something is clear, all mentioned will have a cost impact on ship operations which will in turn increase logistic costs for industrial operators. On the other hand, we are having a common goal to cut emissions. Decarbonizing measures will be a tricker for investments, hopefully sustainable ones.


Responsibility and Transparency

Responsibility and transparency have been raised up in public topics, which can be considered as desired development. There are still too many owners out there operating on oceans who does not give a s**t about responsibility, leading to distortion of the market. Responsible transportation can be considered as one of the sustainability targets and therefore it is also part of my daily work at our shipping company RABN, Rederi Ab Nathalie. Personally, I do believe that a sustainable way is the right way. This is also the manner we have adopted in our shipping company; thus, we are constantly improving activities in order to be one step ahead.


A part of responsibility is also social responsibility. Social responsibility might sound like non-sense for some, but my experience reflects something completely different. As a responsible employer in Finland, a motivated crew is considered as a foundation of the company. Therefore, it is a self-evident that we do care of our crew and we are willing to support them on their career path. Last but not least: as a responsible company it is important to take care of the financial profitability and competitiveness of the operations, as it is the only way to guarantee continuous development, in my opinion.

A shipping company being a responsible and transparent player operating under Finnish flag kicks back to society in way where a part of the revenue is going back to Finnish society in form of investments, salaries, taxes and payments made to sub-contractor network. This is not that self-evident for companies operating under foreign flag or under flag of convenience with hided ownership.


Digitalization

The transition towards digitalization and automation is speeding up in the shipping industry. Digital technologies and solutions are being used to increase competitiveness and enhance operational efficiency. They are also being implemented to spur the industry along the decarbonization path to

realize zero emissions from shipping.


To secure efficient and sustainable operations and strengthen long-term competitiveness, owners and operators need to re-think their current strategies and adapt accordingly. That being said we might see an interesting period during the next 10 years.


In terms of digitalization in shipping, we do have the knowledge in Finland, but could even more be achieved through large-scale development cooperation with end-users?


Recap

To recap all above, I personally feel, that we will for sure have a great opportunity ahead. I am also happy to see that even old-fashioned shipping industry is going through a generation shift and attitude is there to change the direction of where the world is heading to.


By timing right and making right choices I hope we can have impact on biggest concerns related to our operating environment and to operate in a sustainable way in order to leave this cozy livelihood also to our children.


Photos and text: Antti Partanen, CEO & Partner, Rederi AB Nathalie


For further information about the company > RABN, Rederi Ab Nathalie