SAFETY4SEA: What are your top priorities on RightShip’s agenda, taking the helm as CEO?
Steen Lund: At RightShip, we have both immediate and long-term goals. First, we will complete the beta phase for the Platform and Safety Score, and launch these products in the market within the first quarter of 2021. We have several additional enhancements in the pipeline which we look forward to announcing in due course. In terms of environmental assessment, we have just launched the Maritime Emissions Portal (MEP) and have had a great deal of interest in this service after our successful pilot with the Pilbara Ports Authority.
Our team is also defining our overall strategy. We need to be present in more places. Our new innovation hub in Singapore is part of that journey, as we had no presence in Asia outside of Australia. Some of the top-end ship and cargo owning customers are in Japan, China and Greece and we will further explore how we interact effectively in these markets.
I’ve been meeting with customers and having good conversations, which I look forward to doing more of, in all regions, when it is feasible to travel again. We also want to meet with more banks, cargo owners, terminals to ensure our long-term strategy is effective for all maritime industry participants.
Further digitisation is also a key priority. First, we have our core business and respect what our existing customers need. This focus will remain, while we explore other opportunities for advancement within our business.
Ongoing engagement of stakeholders, associations and people within our sector through meaningful discussion is essential. Ultimately, we are building innovation into new products and services for them, so we need to understand specific needs. Many have a need for improved understanding of GHG profiles and supply chain carbon-reduction possibilities.
S4S: From your perspective, what are the key challenges that the maritime industry is currently facing?
St.L.: There is a regulatory driven requirement and then there is a general market-driven curiosity for sustainability. We have no doubt that it's a space to increase our competence and our reach. We start with the ship, but we also work with a lot of agencies such as banks, insurance companies, financial leasing, port authorities, nations that are close with their port authorities and the ports themselves. We work with the constituents who could have significant uses for ratings and emissions data. It’s definitely a space we want to be a part of and contribute to growth in.
We see two ways of looking at it. Firstly, there is the long haul towards IMO goals in 2050 where future fuels are being discussed, which requires a massive undertaking to shift the infrastructure to enable delivery. It will take trillions of dollars of global investment.
Then there are the more nimble, exciting proposals to reduce emissions in the near future. There is so much happening in this space, we look keenly to be a purveyor of data and knowledge and do something specific for different parties across the whole maritime industry. Hence us setting up our innovation hub, so future customers can see what our role is and what we can achieve.
S4S: What are the next frontiers for shipping risks? What should we expect to handle within the next year(s)?
St. L.: We have seen progression in the way the container associations have digitalised. I have worked at the board level of the SSA in Singapore and developed the digital transformation committee. We did this due to all the different approaches to data.
Take a look at the lack of data and standardisation in inspections, surveys and audits. Classification society, navigation and vetting companies: everyone works differently. When COVID-19 hit, I was working at an oil tanker management company. When people couldn’t go on board to inspect, we had a few service providers approach me to switch to a remote service. It was the only sensible way to go on board, otherwise we were increasing the risk profile of the vessel without carrying out the inspections. This called for a process of standardisation. When engaging companies, if you’re a ship manager, you never get going. Every company wants to complete processes their own way. RightShip can help with the standardisation of inspections and vetting. We need to contribute to the standardisation by listening to the manager and the owner; digitalise it, capture it and create the report as fast as possible.
I also have seen here in Singapore, during COVID-19, how data standardisation has helped during data collection for immigration. When a vessel arrives, it needs to respond to three different government agencies for health and safety too. By making one simplified data collection point at immigration, they have been able to save thousands of man hours as people move in and out of the city and can facilitate getting our seafarers on and off vessels.
S4S: In your view, has the industry been successful in implementing a safety culture? What should be our key priorities for strengthening safety culture onboard and ashore?
St. L.: Despite a general increase in safety standards, there is a real gap forming between baseline compliance and exemplary performance that needs to be bridged.
To bridge this gap, the sector needs to support owners to set themselves up for success, and generally increase the proportion of owners and operators that fall within the ‘proactive group’ currently leading on safety, sustainability and welfare.
The industry needs to get better at recognising and celebrating exemplary performance from owners and operators. This is a multi-faceted initiative that calls for collaboration from across the maritime sector.
For owners, there should be a concerted drive to operate at a consistently higher standard. Charterers – with consumer pressure at the forefront of their minds – should start to think about how they can incentivise better standards through premiums in charter party agreements.
This is a mutually beneficial relationship that can drive up standards across the board and reduce operational and reputational risks for all parties involved.
For instance, greater sophistication of inspections, with condensed benchmarks and a standardised approach to vessel and operational improvements, will also help to drive up safety and risk management standards.
By adopting a more holistic approach – and one that understands that commerciality is key and also embraces the advantages of new technologies – the sector can help to define its own blueprint for how it wants to raise standards in safety, sustainability and welfare, and for how it wants to define operational excellence.
This blueprint needs to be defined and decided by the industry – with conversations facilitated by big players – and provided to vetting and inspections companies, governments and regulatory bodies, industry associations, class societies and flag states. This will help the sector to establish and work towards an ambitious marker for going beyond compliance.
S4S: What are your targets for 2021? Do you have any new projects you would like to share with industry stakeholders?
St. L.: We will be launching the Safety Score and RightShip Platform early this year. We see it as a safe transition from the current platform, which is the root of our existence, solidifying our datasets and how we handle our data. We will be transitioning all of our customers over to the new Platform, pulling the plug on Qi and it will be all systems go on the Safety Score. Right now, we are operating a test Platform for the Safety Score in beta mode and an active platform in production mode in Qi. This has given us sufficient time to evaluate, test and get feedback on the new Platform and Safety Score, ready for go-live.
S4S: What is your key message to industry stakeholders with regards to a more sustainable future for shipping?
St. L.: Our team is committed to improving sustainability in all aspects of the supply chain and we are seeing considerable uptake of our existing services. Our GHG Rating customers continue to grow and we have already seen strong demand for our Maritime Emissions Portal after launching in November 2020. While we are pleased with our sustainability offering at present, there is so much more that we can, and will, do to play our part in a move towards a zero-emissions future and this will be a fundamental part of our overarching strategy moving forward. New services and advocacy are important, but we must work with all sectors to agree on a roadmap for shifts in infrastructure and operational programs if we are to achieve lasting success.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
From December 2020, Steen Lund is the new CEO of RightShip. Mr. Lund has more than 30 years’ experience in the maritime industry. He spent 21 years with A.P Moller Maersk, where he was responsible for the Maersk Line network in the Americas, Oceania, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
He was also the Executive Vice President and Head of Asia Pacific for Germanischer Lloyd, and following the creation of DNV GL in 2013, he returned to Singapore to lead the regional operation of the newly merged company until 2017.
Mr. Lund subsequently headed Radio Holland’s activities in Asia and since early 2019 served as CCO and CDO at Executive Ship Management.
He also supports the digitalisation of the maritime industry, as shown by his position as a Council Member of the Singapore Shipping Association where he was Chairman of the Digital Transformation Committee, and as Adjunct Fellow at the MPA Academy where he lectures on technology in the maritime industry.