MANILA: If tank shipping companies across the globe can boil down the list of the biggest challenges - and the best solutions - for the next five years, they can be summarized in seven points, says the companies' own global interest group, London-based Intertanko.
At a conference held by Thome Ship Management in Manila this week, Intertanko's Head of Asia and the Pacific, Tim Wilkens, presented the seven points that members are encouraged to work on toward 2018.
First up was the economy. Perhaps not surprising for an industry in which several major players have been struggling to make a profit for years, while others have been fighting or succumbing to the powers of market.
"The first point concerns how to establish commercial viability among the members. One suggestion is to use cost models that can help localize places where there's money to be found. We need to keep working to find places to cut costs, and an obvious place to do that is fuel, as a lot of money can be saved there," said Tim Wilkens.
The next key point is what Intertanko refers to as "the human element." The tanker industry must work to make itself attractive to new generations. One approach that Tim Wilkens believes could work, is to talk about a "shipping career, rather than a career at sea."
In connection to that, he believes that the industry is still suffering from a form of "criminalization," meaning that crews can be accused of bad mouthing the ports in the case of oil spills.
Vetting, living up to the inspections that will almost certainly become increasingly frequent, is the third, important point that shipowners can work with and save money by being on par with.
The fourth point is the entire environmental area:
"The emission of smoke, the SOx and NOx challenges. We believe that the simplest approach is to move toward a cleaner way of doing things. To attack the problem and find out what we're putting in the ships. Better fuel is a good solution, also when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions," said Wilkens, thus referring to the fifth point on the agenda, the debate about greenhouse gasses.
Another important question to Intertanko is to find out what tools the shipping companies need in order to comply with the various requirements awaiting in the coming years. The organization believes that the many new environmental requirements can make it difficult as a shipowner to find out where to invest, and how authorities across the world intend to administrate the introduced regulations.
The final point is the various threats to ships and crews around the world.
"New piracy hot spots are emerging, for instance the west coast of Africa. The initiatives introduced as Best Management Practice were intended specifically for the situation off the Horn of Africa. New threats are emerging now and we need open to that," he concluded.