World's biggest carriers to launch sulphur alliance

Ten of the world's biggest shipping companies will meet in about one week in Copenhagen to launch an unprecedented collaboration aimed at environmental regulations. Norwegian Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics is behind the "Trident Alliance."
Photo: Colourbox
Photo: Colourbox

Between eight and ten of the world's biggest carriers will meet on May 28 in Copenhagen to launch an unprecedented collaboration on environmental regulations. The carriers, which include the Maersk Group and Norwegian Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, will discuss a White Paper stating five key objectives, and the meeting is expected to result in a collaboration that has already been named the "Trident Alliance."

In addition to Norway and Denmark, the group includes shipping companies from Sweden, Germany, Japan, and South Korea - or, for the most part, the IMO country's that are currently fighting to secure high environmental standards within the maritime field.

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The Trident Alliance will have its own figure head, and the unusual initiative has a clear and stated main goal: To introduce proper measures to control sulphur emissions within the EU, where tighter regulations for sulphur content in ship fuel are set to come into force in 2015, as the lack of proper enforcement will make it viable to not invest in new technology or to refrain from using more expensive bunker oil, if no one is going to find out anyway.

The author of the White Paper and one of the initiators behind the collaboration is Vice President of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Roger Strevens, Global Head of Environment:

"We need a strong initiative to ensure that the politicians act firmly on the enforcement of the sulphur regulations. The elaborated White Paper reflects input from substantial parts of the industry. The draft will be discussed at the meeting in Copenhagen,” Roger Strevens tells ShippingWatch.

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He describes the Trident Alliance's role as follows:

”The alliance works to ensure a level playing field in the market and to document why the enforcement of environmental regulations is important. This group of companies can lobby with politicians as well as it can engage with independent academic institutions to obtain better documentation, or, it can engage with innovators working in this field,” Roger Strevens says.

An urgent matter

He believes that the industry needs to act fast as the costs of waiting until after January 1 2015 are only going to increase the longer it takes for those investing in environmental solutions. In this sense, his position falls in line with that of DFDS CEO and Vice President of the European Community Shipowners' Association (ECSA), Niels Smedegaard.

At a meeting of the ECSA recently, Niels Smedegaard also called for action, saying that the industry itself was partly to blame for failing to influence the final regulations.

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”In seven months, the EU regulations are implemented, we should have started this five years ago. Action is urgent, because the enforcement in the EU is very poor. The perception of the industry is, that you don´t take chances in the USA where sulphur rules are already implemented,” he says.

So far, the carriers behind the new collaboration decline to put a name on all participants, except for saying that the carriers involved are among the biggest in the world in their individual segments.

The goal of the meeting in Copenhagen is for the group of carriers to sign a certificate of membership to the alliance. But Roger Strevens stresses that all carriers interested in complying with the five key principles are welcome to join.

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