On a global basis, the debate on decarbonization has quite considerably change since people are now discussing about how to achieve it. As far it concerns our industry, the IMO and the whole maritime community are taking a leadership position saying that they want to do something about it.

I think it’s good that shipping is able to take a leadership position. We see that governments, politicians, leaders are beginning to respond to society and society responds to do more. This is driven by transparency of information which is leading to actions by different communities and I think shipping does need to play its part.

What does good look like?

In the 1780s if you were sailing on a clipper it was quite acceptable to lose couple of people on the voyage and that comes with the expression ‘your ships comes in, comes from’, so it was extremely profitable but extremely risky. Maybe one out of two voyages made it back.

If you look at it today, things have moved on - we don’t have that kind of expectation, the safety has moved on tremendously in the industry. However we should think; how is this going to look like in five years from now? Because society’s expectations, industry’s expectations and leaders’ expectations are continuously changing. So, we need to adapt and respond to any change.

I think it’s very important that we seek a win-win for business and the environment through a sustainable way to increase world trade and prosperity. An important part of this is being able to measure and able to benchmark because that allows us to know what we can do and change things.

The three blades of the propeller below demonstrate what actually drives us in RightShip, which are the social responsibility, the safety and the environmental sustainability. Namely, people are at the core of everything we do. From seafarer welfare to the relationships we build with industry and partners, the best outcomes for our people are essential. With regards to safety, the maritime industry faces safety challenges and we are constantly working to ensure ships are as safe as possible so that the cargo and crew are protected. In addition to these, we have an ambitious goal to create a zero-emission industry. Using leading data and technology, we aim to set new benchmarks in environmental protection.

The propeller actually gives an outlook of what a balanced industry looks like; operations are managed in a sustainable way, where seafarers are cared for, the environment is considered and safety is given the right priority. That’s a good operator, that’s a good business, that’s sustainable.

On an ongoing basis in RightShip we’re working continuously on a triangle; we’re representing 137 charterers through a daily communication. We’re talking directly to the cargo interest, the ship operators, where we bring ports and terminals into the discussion as well; what we’re trying to do is to make a safe and successful voyage because that feeds everything else.

Touching a little bit on the GHG rating, to stress that is a relative measure of efficiency and not an absolute measure. We provide a comparison between vessels of similar size and type and we’re basing that on an international instrument. So, we’re not doing that regionally and it aims to reward those operators companies that are investing more in efficiency. We’ve seen that the interest has grown over the last years quite dramatically.

If we look at some sort of conversions or upgrades, we’ve actually seen quite a high number of these now, and actually fall in two categories:

  1. Machinery upgrades
  2. Propulsion upgrades

The orange bar is really where something has been done to change the propulsion upgrade and the dark one is about the machinery upgrade. We are snipping the top of that engine power curve, which does not affect the engine performance.

We’ve seen other having similar thoughts in terms of doing that, so this is just an example of how the industry is sort of responding and we’re constantly working with operators to evaluate that and the invitation is there to check your GHG rating which is freely available.

We are part of the getting to zero coalition and there is a lot of discussion about 2030-2050 and is extremely important. But, our suggestion is that there is a lot that can be done already.

With the existing fleet which has a significant impact on reducing emission and saving lives. We have many examples of this. One of them is Odfjell whose combined upgrades reduced fuel consumption and emissions by over 20%. More information about this is on our website.

Benchmarking carbon

All various different parties’ cargo interests are increasingly interested in benchmarking carbon and understanding the carbon footprint of scope three emissions. Carbon Accounting is measuring, monitoring, benchmarking and reporting an organisations GHG emissions in a defined reporting period.

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in interest from that and that’s not only been from charterers but also from shipowners and operators. When you’ve got a base score and you understand what your baseline is you can begin to measure against that.

We’ve got a number of enquiries including from ship operators who are trying to develop and we’re able to show them a pathway towards carbon reduction. We think that this is going to be increasingly important, going forward, being able to benchmark and track that.


#1 Decarbonization is not only about new tonnage

There are things that you can do today. While your focus is on decarbonization, we’re also looking for other emissions. But, right now let’s say that this is where the high focus is on. It’s possible to make a meaningful change today, by a variety of means in a way which doesn’t require necessarily the contraction of ships. I’ve been in the industry 25 years, and I can’t think of a harder time to decide and specify what to build. As well as a very challenging global environment. The technical is challenging concerning what you build, how you build it. The global environment is very challenging in terms of what the market will look like and the recent coronavirus along with the drop in freight rates is an example of that.

#2 Track and measure your emissions to reduce

#3 ESG and Society

In society, if you think about the way things are going, if you think about not only the younger generation - there are plenty of people that are beginning to say that we need to take the leadership position, we need to do something about this. And this, I think, combined with transparency is only going to increase, so I think that we would say that we need to set ourselves up as an industry, take a leadership position and adjust ourselves to the wind that we have.

#4 Collaboration to deliver real gains

RightShip is becoming more global as we have added resources in each office making the organization more accessible to ship operators and work with them and work within the triangle, so that ports, cargo interests and operators can get real benefit.

Above text is an edited version of Mr. Martin Crawford-Brunt’s presentation during the 2020 SAFETYSEA London Forum.

You may view his presentation herebelow

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.

About Martin Crawford-Brunt , CEO, RightShip

Martin Crawford-Brunt has always had a passion for the water. Growing up in South Africa, he spent his youth surfing and windsurfing. Adopting an early fascination with engineering, he sought to build a career that merged his dual interests.

He achieved this goal, gaining qualifications as a naval architect and mechanical engineer. From 1996 to 2005, Crawford-Brunt worked as a ship surveyor, equipment certifier and lead auditor in locations including the South and East African coasts, Singapore Rotterdam, Liverpool.

From 2005 to 2009, Crawford-Brunt held a management role with DNV New York, overseeing the maritime business and delivery on the eastern seaboard of the USA and Canada. In 2009, Crawford-Brunt became DNV’s maritime manager, UK and Ireland. In 2015, Crawford-Brunt rose to the position of regional manager, West Europe and Africa.

After taking the helm of RightShip in 2018, Crawford-Brunt has worked to influence environmental and social outcomes in order for charterers, ports, ship owners and seafarers to continue their important work. This is done by rewarding transparency and working with the experienced RightShip team to develop innovative digital products that offer customers comprehensive data sets and practical solutions.