Setting the pace for green technology in maritime transport...by Darryl Anderson
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed by 175 countries in April 2016. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting, which highlighted the shipping industry’s path for smart, responsible sustainable development, overlapped with the signing. The work of this committee advances the IMO’s vision for shipping that follows the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20 in 2013. IMO Secretary-General Mr. Kitack Lim has asserted that sustainability could best be achieved under the comprehensive regulatory framework developed and maintained by the IMO.
Photo above: Fednav's newly built Federal Champlain has an advanced ballast water handling system - noteworthy to be mentioned when discussing green shipping. Photo: Shipspotting/Iappino
While the above achievements are indeed notable, the real test will come with implementation. By capturing industry insights and perspectives from ship owners, container terminal operator, and supplier, the challenges and lessons learned for driving enhanced sustainability can be explored. We quickly learn that green values, company initiatives and improvements extend far beyond mere regulatory compliance. Sound governance structures, integrated team-based business processes, new technology and products are being used collaboratively to set the pace for an enhanced sustainability outcome.
Bulk shipping company insights
Fednav Limited (Fednav) is Canada’s largest ocean-going dry-bulk ship-owning and chartering firm. Their fleet consists of about 100 owned, long-term chartered and spot chartered vessels and includes St. Lawrence Seaway-max-sized bulk carriers, Supramax and Panamax vessels.
For many shipping companies, the arrival of a new vessel, such as the Federal Champlain in 2016, with its advanced ballast water handling system, would be the most newsworthy item to be mentioned when discussing green shipping. A lively discussion with Fednav Limited’s Marc Gagnon, Director, Government Affairs and Regulatory Compliance, revealed a more nuanced and holistic picture regarding the drivers behind the company’s green initiatives.
Yes, the company has tackled significant environmental initiatives to address particular challenges such as ballast water, cargo residues, oily wastes, accidental oil spills/leakages, air emissions, energy efficiency and waste management. But Gagnon emphasized the fact that Fednav is a privately owned company where the organizational culture embodies and lives out one of their core values: “being the best we can.”
From a green perspective, the company’s environmental policy establishes the standard of conduct for the enterprise. More recently, the renewal of the company’s workforce has resulted in an influx of new employees. Marc stressed the point that young people want to work for a company that shares their values. They don’t want to work for a company that has always done business in a certain way and is not responsive to the environmental impact of their operations. Thus, internal company forces are driving green initiatives, and these are perhaps a stronger drive of change than the external forces that are shaping the business-to-business marketplace where their bulk ships operate.
When asked about insights gleaned from specific initiatives, Gagnon mentioned both the ballast water treatments systems onboard their new generation of ships and the Green Marine program that Fednav helped co-found.
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