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“Collaboration Is Key” – An Interview with Carleen Lyden Walker, NAMEPA

Carleen Lyden-Walker, Co-Founder and Executive Director at NAMEPA, discusses change in the maritime industry, the role of the IMO in that change and collaboration that moves the industry forward.

Decarbonisation of Shipping

Environmental sustainability is one of the biggest and potentially most polarising issues in the maritime industry. The 72nd Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC72), held at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Headquarters, has shown to the world that while many in the maritime industry support decarbonisation, there are many who don’t see it as necessary.

At our Green Ship Technology Conference in Copenhagen, we managed to bring together those industry stakeholders who are working towards a decarbonised, and eventually zero emission shipping. Attitudes towards lowering emission levels have been optimistic, and we’ve seen a lot of technologies that can aid the industry in doing that.

“We talked a lot about what the industry needs to look at, what the industry needs to consider, in order to achieve the goals that we all like to see”, Carleen Lyden-Walker, Co-Founder and Executive Director of NAMEPA, said. “I think that the entire industry would agree that we need to achieve the goal of decarbonisation, but really, how do we get there? Is there a practical way we can get there? We discussed a lot of the strategies for that. It’s not just about accelerating change within the industry, but also accelerating change within some of our regulatory framework that is determined by the IMO.”

"You could come up with the best mouse trap, but if it doesn’t work on a vessel, it’s not going to fully realise its potential."

MEPC72: Deciding On Emission Cuts

This week, all eyes turn to London, where MEPC72 is taking place and one of the main issues this session is discussing is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The majority of the Pacific Islands, backed by the European Union, have called for a 70-100% emission cut by 2050, but the tentative proposal set the goal to 50%, disappointing many nations.

Only last month, the IMO has come under fire for lack of leadership on cyber matters, which prompted the organisation to defend itself.

Lyden-Kluss looks at the larger picture when it comes to IMO decision making.

“I can understand a frustration expressed by people that are used to nimble and rapid fire change. But we have to remember that the IMO operates within the framework of the United Nations (UN). The United Nations does a lot of wonderful work on a global basis but built on a consensus structure."

"It’s not just about accelerating change within the industry, but also accelerating change within some of our regulatory framework"

"Having said that, the United Nations is the body that established the STG – Sustainable Development Goals – for 2030, so I think the United Nations is looking at its own processes and saying ‘How do we accelerate change in order to meet the goals that we have set’. And by extension, the IMO will be doing the same.”

Lyden-Kluss mentioned during her interview with Amie Pascoe, Director of BLUE Communications, that the new IMO centres of excellence are one way they support change (and therefore decarbonisation) in the maritime industry.

"It’s wonderful to have technology. It needs to be applicable and it needs to be practical."

Collaboration in Shipping

As these centres of excellence demonstrate, “collaboration is key”. A recurring theme at this year’s GST & Shipping2030 Europe conference was collaboration between stakeholders, who bring different experiences and capabilities to the sector.

“Because of the nature of going out to sea and coming back, you are almost point-to-point and operating in a silo”, Lyden-Kluss explained. “Those silos have grown and expanded, but up until recently, we have operated within our own silos, whether they’d be the corporate entity, the sectoral entity, or the technology entity. Those barriers are starting to drop and collaborations are starting to grow. We’ve seen this within our shipowner associations like the International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, BIMCO, InterCargo, and the collaboration between sectors and within shipping.”

“I think technology – at least modern technology – is predicated on collaborations."

"I remember about 10 years ago being so excited when Microsoft and Google were exchanging technologies, and I thought ‘Wow! Wouldn’t it be great to apply that’. I think we’re starting to see that – maybe in these centres of excellence. Maybe if we can develop these technology hubs that are in maritime centres, they can reach out into the local shipping community and get that knowledge base that they need because it’s wonderful to have technology. It needs to be applicable and it needs to be practical. I’m on the advisory board of the Maritime Global Technology Innovation Centre headquartered in Suny Maritime College, New York, and it is, again, an opportunity for technology leaders to come together and reach into the shipping community itself. I think we’ve got areas around the world that facilitate those dialogues. You could come up with the best mouse trap, but if it doesn’t work on a vessel, it’s not going to fully realise its potential, and that’s what we need to do.”

“We’re coming out of [the worst shipping cycle] now. Shipping is still running lean and mean. So we have to find those opportunities for collaboration and be as efficient as possible in moving forward. But is shipping reluctant to change? I think that’s misnomer. We need to facilitate that change and accelerate it. But we need to have all the partners working together, collaboration is key.”

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