This time of the year always gives a great opportunity to consider lessons learned and set new year’s resolutions for new beginnings. For that matter, Mr. George Teriakidis, Area Manager, Maritime, DNV, makes an assessment of 2021 and shares his message for the new year across the global maritime community.
SAFETY4SEA: How would you briefly describe 2021? What is your assessment?
George Teriakidis: Vaccination year. What a year it has been! This was the year that vaccines came to our lives to mark the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, in maritime terms, it was the year that the container and dry bulk sectors enjoyed (finally) some good markets, while the tanker segment was left with more to hope for.
S4S: What were the lessons learned for the maritime industry in 2021, and which of these can we keep for the new year moving forwards?
I believe that seafarers and their welfare must be the topic of concern for the coming year too. We have all felt since the beginning of the pandemic what a challenge this is. Unfortunately, even the simple act of vaccinating is not so easy for seafarers. More must be done for this global problem, which has to be dealt with using a global tactic and mentality.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2022?
GT: The biggest challenge for me is two-fold: the seafarers’ well-being, together with how the pandemic will develop, and decarbonization. For the first, it is obvious that it is still hard to change crew and, in some cases, vaccinate them – and frankly, I don’t see it getting easier any time soon. The pandemic will not go away easily; it can ravage many parts of the world, opening and closing ports and putting entire nations in isolation.
Concerning decarbonization, flexibility is the key as shipping transitions to a lower-carbon future. Fuel flexibility and technologies to bridge changing fuel usage have been identified as essential strategies for both individual owners and the shipping industry to adapt to the energy transition and prepare for a low-carbon future.
S4S: What would the new year’s resolutions be for your organization?
We need to come together as the maritime industry and collaborate; the challenges ahead of us, with decarbonization being the hottest one, will not be tackled by having too many different voices. Instead, we all need to consolidate and put out a single voice, if possible, that would represent the maritime community as one entity.
S4S: What are you looking forward to in 2022? What would you be most pleased to see change in the maritime industry next year?
GT: The seafarers’ crisis. It would be very exciting to see ports allowing crew changes in a predictable and easy manner, around the world!
S4S: If you could make one wish for the maritime industry for the year to come, what would you ask for?
GT: A safe, financially attractive, low- or (even better) zero-carbon-based fuel. We still have years ahead of us to see such a fuel that can also be widely available around the world. In fact, chances are that we will never see just one dominant fuel, but instead we will have many different options spread around the globe.
- We need to repeat… and strengthen the focus on seafarers’ well-being.
- We need to lose… the silo style of working in shipping.
- We need to gain… the trust of stakeholders outside shipping and maritime, to make them understand our arguments and needs.
- We can succeed by… collaborating more across organizations and national borders – enjoying a proper global maritime industry more in practice and less in words.
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.