Digital headway on decarbonisation


( Digital solutions that offer progress on decarbonisation are now “amongst the most prolific and persistent requirements” for Maersk Supply Service, according to Kasper Thiesen, Head of IT, as the offshore support vessel operator and solutions provider drives towards achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

His sentiment reflects the contents of the Inmarsat-Thetius Research Programme report The Optimal Route – The Why and How of Digital Decarbonisation in Shipping, published in 2022. In his foreword to the report, Inmarsat Maritime President, Ben Palmer, commented: “Maritime decarbonisation will rely on […] the continued development and implementation of novel technologies and processes designed to deliver efficiency gains across all areas of vessel operations.”

Inmarsat Maritime President, Ben Palmer

Kasper Thiesen added that for Maersk Supply Services, increasing demand for VSAT services connecting ship and shore is driven by customers, regulators, and the company’s own corporate objectives.  He identified standardised infrastructure as well as digitalised ship performance tools as providing the foundation for fast-tracking efficiency and reducing emissions in the shortest timeframe. “Once the infrastructure is in place, we can deploy new ship management applications across our entire fleet, almost at the push of a button,” he said.

This was echoed by Nick Chubb, Founder & Managing Director of Thetius, by observing that digital tools, rather than alternative fuels, offered the quickest win for a shipping industry faced with massive challenges to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals set for 2030.   It is clear, he said, that shipping companies should be looking to the potential offered by decarbonisation strategies based on digital enablement.  According to research, shipping could use digital technologies to achieve a 38% reduction in GHG emissions at short order and at a fraction of the cost. This would equate to 76% of the decarbonisation efforts required by the IMO to meet its 2030 goal.

The importance of digital technologies in meeting sustainability objectives was confirmed by Sindre Bornstein, Chief Commercial Officer at Yxney Maritime, which is part of VPS.  Yxney Maritime partnered with Inmarsat to enable their fuel efficiency solution by Inmarsat’s Fleet Data, using dedicated bandwidth for data collection, transfer, storage and analysis. He told the audience that most ship owners are starting to think about data use in new ways. The high-quality data available using tools such as Yxney’s MARESS fuel efficiency software not only supports informed decision-making; it offers opportunities for greater transparency and new ways for stakeholders to collaborate, he said.

Nick Chub commented, “The Optimal Route report features over 20 companies developing digital tools to support ship owners in reducing the carbon intensity and get us to a point where we peak emissions as quickly as possible and start cutting them long before alternative fuels are available at scale. Fuel savings of 5–25% are not only possible – they’re also quite easy to achieve with the right tools, the right software and changes in behaviour.”

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