Regulations key to contributing to a cleaner shipping industry

In our latest Jotun Insider article Petter Korslund, Regulatory Affairs Manager for Jotun Performance Coatings, gives his views on how the shipping industry can become cleaner and have more sustainable operations.

Decarbonisation is the watchword for the shipping industry today with regulatory and financial drivers leading technological development in a reversal of the traditional relationship between these factors.

It has to be said that most owners cannot influence the development of cleaner fuels or more efficient vessels except by offering their ships as platforms for experimentation or by pledging to operate on such fuels once they become commercially available. They do however look to equipment and service providers to make available the means with which they can begin to reduce carbon emissions and keep on the right side of regulations.

Helping them in those endeavours are people such as Petter Korslund, Regulatory Affairs Manager for Jotun Performance Coatings. Given that Jotun is one of the leading coatings manufacturers it is no surprise that Korlund’s main focus area is on the regulations and requirements that are impacting hull performance solutions, biofouling control and in-water cleaning practices.  

“Generally speaking, I would say the main drivers for change are regulation, access to capital and meeting consumer expectations. The growing pressure to comply with the stricter environmental regulations is also being matched by the need to control costs and improve efficiency”, he explains summing up the leading drivers as he sees them.

Petter Korslund, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Jotun Performance Coatings

A complicated issue

He says it is encouraging to see some ship owners and operators taking the lead, but adds that decarbonising shipping is complicated and many face challenges and barriers when it comes to choosing pathways and new technologies, including issues relating to cost, technical maturity, infrastructure and availability among others. “It’s likely to take time to resolve these issues but, again, it’s encouraging to see the increasing focus on making shipping more sustainable, driven by the regulators and the likes of bodies such as Sea Cargo Charter, Poseidon Principles, lobby organisations and also a stronger focus on ESG by companies and consumers. Regulations, collaboration, and innovation are key elements to maritime decarbonisation,” he says.      

On the subject of regulations and indeed the regulators themselves, Korslund sees that it’s not always easy for ideals to be met. “Regulations play an important role when it comes to making shipping more sustainable and, for sure, the industry will be impacted by a wide range of regulations that aim to ensure that this vital industry is environmentally sound and energy efficient. That said, it’s always difficult to align the interests of stakeholders towards new regulations but it’s our opinion that as our industry becomes more complex and challenging, the challenges could be overcome by regulations that encourage innovation and incentives.”

Addressing the criticism that is often raised about the industry’s international regulator the IMO, Korslund recognises it is a large body with many stakeholders who need to find a consensus. “This leads to long discussions and a lot of compromises. Implementing guidelines before they become mandatory instruments takes time”, he says. “As an example, revision of the biofouling management guidelines was discussed for four days in April without a mutual conclusion. Part of the revision has been postponed to 2025. By contrast, the EU and influential countries like Australia and New Zealand tend to have the ability to move quicker. The good thing about them moving quickly is that it pushes the IMO to move faster as well. Case in point is the introduction of CII which has gone much quicker than, for example, the Ballast Water treatment discussions that took many years to be concluded.”

But he also has some words of praise for the IMO. “To its credit the IMO has already produced voluntary guidelines on controlling biofouling and is currently exploring the possibility of introducing global rules, but some argue it’s not fast enough for the environment, hence it’s important that the EU, charterers and finance institutions set demands that exceed the requirements of IMO.”

On the new measures for existing ships – EEXI and CII – Korslund said, “When it comes to meeting the decarbonisation goals of the IMO there’ll be no one simple solution. We are moving into an era where there will be multiple solutions, multiple fuel types and different types of energy saving devices. From a regulatory perspective, it’s encouraging to see the impact new requirements such as the EEXI/CII and EU’s ETS are already having on the industry.”

Encouraging moves at IMO

On the specific matter of the IMO’s handling of biofouling, Korslund welcomed the actions taken at MEPC 80 in July this year. In particular he highlighted that the ‘Review of the 2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive species ’ has now become ‘Development of guidance on matters relating to in-water cleaning’ and has set the target completion year of the new output to 2025. This is to develop an approval guidance on the in-water cleaning device and/or equipment for biofouling. 

He added, “It is also interesting that more data is to be collected in the IMO Data Collection System. This allows regulations to be more precise and follow up initiatives like the EU MRV. It is also similar to the ISO 19030 standard, which when introduced provided a focus on data quality to measure hull and propeller performance.”

Korslund also has strong views on how biofouling regulations need to be standardised and applied globally, “We firmly believe that international regulation is essential for progress to be made and that it is good that the IMO is reviewing its biofouling guidelines. Today, we have different practices from port to port, country to country and this is a major challenge. The best solution would be one regulatory framework that we can all rely on.”

“Standardization is critical in order to address the global issues of biofouling. Patchwork regulations are difficult to enforce and create uncertainty, also when it comes to choosing and implementing new technologies and solutions."   

“As a practical example of standardization, we support Bellona’s Clean Hull Initiative (CHI), where international stakeholders are working together to develop the standard for in-water proactive cleaning. This work is ongoing and industry wide participation, including ports and regulators, is important to make sure the standard is accepted and adopted to the widest extent possible”. 

Tackling the twin issues of species transfer and efficiency

Not surprisingly, Korslund is proud of what Jotun is doing and how it is helping shipping to become more sustainable tackling the twin issues of species transfer and efficiency. “Jotun is an innovative company that develops advanced antifouling coatings and proactive cleaning and inspection technology to keep hulls clean. That’s what we do and that’s well known in the shipping industry. However, participating in industry initiatives and partnerships is also important for us. That’s why we are a member of the CHI and GIA, and recently joined up to the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping. We believe it’s imperative that we take a united international approach if we are to succeed in reducing emissions, preserving fuel and protect the oceans’ biodiversity. Industry collaboration is also an important part of Jotun’s clean shipping commitment, and a means to accelerate sustainable innovation at a time when the entire industry is grappling with new regulatory measures.”

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