How can we really achieve sustainable shipping? There is certainly an effort being made nowadays but is its speed sufficient? What can we do to raise the speed so as to support sustainable shipping and why is it needed to make it grow faster? Of course this is difficult since we have to deal with economic situations but sustainable shipping is an issue which needs attention, because we have one globe where we all live on; it is what we all use, what we all enjoy but it is also what we all damage.

Our presence on this planet is damaging our own living area as climate change is imminent or actually already happening; how will that affect our future or the availability of fresh water? Will the availability of fresh water be the next geopolitical problem in the far future? It could be… I think we want the civil society to be happy and we want to make sure our planet is a good place to live, so what can we do as a maritime industry? I think we all have to take responsibility for the future.

When we talk about maritime transport, we identify as indirect customer the civil society, the people in the streets, the people buying goods in the shops. Nowadays, people are becoming more and more demanding; they want to know further details about the products they buy, how they came or how they were manufactured. The visionary entrepreneur should take all this into account in order to be prepared for the future.

Ports are playing a pivotal role in the maritime sector. They are often located in densely populated areas. Therefore air quality, noise, relationship with the local community, garbage and water quality are all elements directly related to the society as well as shipping to take into account.


The above graph is taken from the annual reports of ESPO and it depicts the periods from 1996 to 2016. It is interesting to see that air quality was not an issue back in 1996, but it is in the agenda in 2016 and has been during the last 12 years. Noise is gradually stepping in the agenda and is currently in position 3 for this year. Relationship to the community comes inside in 2009 as ports are concerned and ports are a vital part of the maritime industry; therefore, the community is indeed an indirect customer to be considered.

How can that be solved? Is ‘’regulations’’ the answer? Of course it is. Regulations create level playing fields and maintain sustainability in shipping. One interesting subject these days is ballast water: how long are we talking ballast water legislation? How long are we talking proper legislation for ship demolition? It is definitely going too slow, so we need regulations to have a level playing field but finally the visionary entrepreneur can take action for himself. What we need is change. It is always nice to do things odd to what others are doing and that is what makes the visionary entrepreneur for the future. You cannot do this alone, you must collaborate with others; when you work with your stakeholders, you can make things happen and even be ahead of legislation or you can even create the criteria to be adopted by legislation.

This is where the Green Award Foundation comes in – it is a program for inland barging and seagoing shipping and together with ports and centre providers we work to make this extra step in an economical, balanced way, and yes the Green Award Foundation today is anchored in the industry. The Green Award Foundation is a program that motivates ship owners to make an extra step which is caused by our partners, the incentive providers: the ports, the marine service providers and even banks that provide incentives to the ships that are really going a step further. Currently, we have 66 service providers, so all of us see a rapid growth. However, we need more direct  incentives, not only ports, but more incentives that have direct benefit for the shipping company because often the port fees are paid by the charterer and they will take the incentive. We want to motivate more shipping companies to join, we want to globalize the program and make the maritime cluster stronger and the most recent incentive that came in are DYNAMARINe, Alpha Marine, Hudson Analytix, EBE, ErmaFirst and Katradis; all of them Greek marine service providers that provide an incentive. We are going to expand this list rapidly in the next few months.  We have also Greek shipping companies in the program, the frontrunners in the industry, quality and safety.

It is about collaboration, we also need to work together as a foundation as we cannot do this work alone individually by ourselves. Of course we have our own course but we look to what is happening around us and we try to embrace that and find the synergies. For that reason we work together with the World Ports Climate Initiative which represents the environmental shipping index from the ports and we also have a certain corporation with Right Ship granting an extra star in the program when your ship is certified by Green Award.

The program includes many participants - the certificate holders, shipping companies and their crews, the incentive providers, like ports and marine service providers, the governing bodies, which is the industry, the major industry parties such as IACS or the US Coast Guard, they are all somewhere in our boards, they govern our program. This whole connection of all those parties is the platform the Green Award is using to make that extra step to the future. The only thing I want to say is: don’t miss the boat!

Above text is an edited article of Katie Weaver presentation during the 2016 GREEN4SEA Conference & Awards.

You may view his presentation by clicking here

Click here to view all the presentations of 2016 GREEN4SEA Conference & Awards

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  GREEN4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.


About Jan Fransen, Managing Director, Green Award Foundation

Jan Fransen

Jan Fransen, Managing Director of Green Award, was involved with the set-up of the Green Award scheme in the early nineties when he served the Foundation as a Certification Manager. From 2001 he took on the position of Deputy Managing Director and in April 2005 he was appointed the Managing Director. His previous positions include Nautical Officer and several positions at the Dutch Ministry of Transport and the Port of Rotterdam.

Jan can be seen as the ‘expedition leader’ of Green Award. In the past 15 years he, supported by the Committee and the Board of Experts, faced several challenges related to staff & finance, development of requirements and growth of number of ships. He visits ports and port authorities, embassies, ministries and certificate holders in order to inform them about the Green Award Foundation and establish relations.

In the opinion of Jan Fransen, schemes like Green Award contribute to motivation and differentiation in Quality Shipping. The market mechanism created by Green Award will result in a preference for Quality Tonnage on the charter market and elimination of substandard tonnage. Sustainable developments in maritime transport will be achieved.