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. Takeshi Okamoto, Corporate Officer, General Manager of PR Team, ClassNK, 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?
Takeshi Okamoto: Decarbonization. With COP26 held this year, awareness towards climate changes has been confirmed significantly. While the global trend targeting net-zero by 2050 has become strengthened, both the public and private sector in the maritime industry accelerated their forward-looking initiatives to decarbonize shipping. This is a good thing, and ClassNK is always there to support these efforts. At ClassNK, we have been providing service aiming to protect the marine environment for more than 120 years. By gathering its ongoing GHG service and integrating them with new expertise obtained, we have extended our service as “Zero-Emission Transition Support Services”.
S4S: What were the lessons learned for the maritime industry in 2021 and what to keep for the new year moving forwards?
TO: I may refer to the lesson the whole world learned for the maritime industry. Seaborne trade is essential to the world’s economy and life of people. Despite a number of challenges including disruptions caused by the closure of borders and ports and seafarer change, the industry has been coping with fulfilling its responsibility. Furthermore, players in the sector proceeded with the initiatives to accelerate decarbonization of shipping. Those should be worthy of recognition. The industry will keep working hard to form a robust and sustainable logistics, and ClassNK is proud to be part of that.
As the lesson for us, the pandemic has expanded the technology use in the industry like remote surveys, which we have confirmed its effectiveness and utilized for supporting the fleet operation without delay.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2022?
TO: Preparation towards EEXI regulation and CII rating. These regulations will begin from 2023, therefore making a strategic decision on the fleet in 2022 should be critical to not only achieve regulatory compliance but also plan and manage GHG emissions optimized for business operation. At ClassNK, we provide customer support service to help its clients make the best decision tailored to the situation, including GHG emissions management tools to simulate CII rating of individual ships and entire fleet, and utilize the data for various reporting requested by stakeholders.
S4S: What are you looking forward to in 2022? What would you be most glad about seeing changing in the maritime industry next year?
TO: In light of Covid-19 influences, we would like rather to see normalization than change. Although the characteristics of the new Covid-19 variant is uncertain at this moment, the disease may spread and increase the number of people getting infected. In that situation, we still have to foresee lockdowns or restrictions on the border as we saw in 2020, which would impose even tougher challenges to the operation of ships, such as seafarer changes. Again, we hope that the world recognizes the importance of shipping and especially appreciates seafarers’ dedication.
S4S: If you could make one wish for the maritime industry for the year to come, what would you ask for?
Now is the time to establish technical options for shipping decarbonization, probably zero-emission fuels. The uncertainty over the next-generation fuels and their supply chain has hinder future investment. We hope many individual or collaborative approaches will bear fruit as possible options, and the appropriate regulatory framework encouraging the adoption of new technology will also be implemented.
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.
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