Meeting the data sharing imperative in decarbonising shipping

By Henning Roxin

Photo by Baptiste Buisson on Unsplash

The industry's GHG emission problem

Every year shipping emits about 3% of the global greenhouse gas emissions while burning 300 million tons of fuel annually (Sources: IMO, IPCC, IEA).

The industry therefore significantly contributes to global warming and more extreme weather patterns with potentially highly damaging consequences to biodiversity and quality of life for hundreds of millions of people.

Most major shipping players recognise this and the science behind global warming and have set ambitious goals to decarbonise their operations to net zero by 2050. This goes far beyond the Paris Agreement that sets the reduction target to 50% compared to 2008 levels.

But enabling net zero emission shipping on a global scale is a tremendous challenge that will keep us busy for the next decades. Enormous investments in infrastructure, innovation and knowledge combined with far-reaching regulatory changes are needed in the years and decades to come.

Meeting the challenge with coordinated ecosystem cooperation

Many maritime stakeholders are already joining ecosystem-wide collaboration initiatives to accelerate decarbonisation. A prominent one is the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping which has defined 5 critical levers to achieve net zero emission shipping by 2050.

These are:

1) Technical advancements of vessels. This means making ships more fuel efficient through energy-saving devices like air lubricant systems, Flatner rotors, sails, high-performance paints and the like, which helps reduce vessels' energy demand.

2) Energy and Fuel advances. Mission critical is the development of alternative net zero fuels at scale. Future fuels need to be carbon neutral throughout their whole well-to-wake lifetime cycle. Fuels will have to be produced from renewable sources.

3) Policy and regulations. Creating a level playing field is of utmost importance to accelerate the development and uptake of alternative net zero carbon fuels. Alternative fuels will be more expensive than conventional fossil fuels before they are produced at scale.

Therefore governments and regulatory bodies have to put incentive models in place to make even early-stage alternative fuels economically viable. Regulations must be carefully drafted and combined with mutually reinforcing initiatives across the maritime ecosystem.

For example, combining emission trading schemes with green corridors and tax incentives for green transport buyers. Building supply and demand for green transport will bring costs down and accelerate the transition.

4) Finance sector mobilisation. The transition to net zero carbon transport will be very expensive. Industry experts expect the investment to be between 3-4 trillion USD, maybe higher. Banks and other financial institutions need to recognise and effectively price the carbon risk of their investments and abstain from financing polluting vessels. Green projects need to receive preferred investment terms.

5) Customer demand/pull. The first four levers primarily increase the greener and net zero carbon transport supply. However, nurturing demand is equally important. The green transition will accelerate exponentially when customers walk the talk and pay more for zero-carbon transport. We must continue educating society on the harmful effects of burning fossil fuels. Consumers in prosperous industrialised societies can act environmentally responsibly but must know what to choose.

Access to reliable data is an essential enabler for the zero carbon economy

Industry leaders and innovators must make complex, far-reaching, high-stakes decisions this decade. Often they will have to navigate through unknown waters with adverse weather conditions. They will need a good compass! Access to reliable, high-quality data will be just that!

Will onboard carbon capture be a path forward? How efficient is the technology? How much extra fuel does the ship need to run the capture technology? Where, how and how much CO2 can be stored on board?

What is the effect of an air lubricant systems? How do vessels fitted with such a system compare to conventional vessels? What is the baseline to compare at any given speed, loading and weather conditions?

Where to establish green corridors, and for what ship types and vessel size? What will the trading patterns be?

How are emission trading schemes best implemented? How do we verify vessels' emissions? Who is going to purchase emission allowances? Shipowner, charterer or even technical manager? Will trade flows be distorted?

Making the appropriate micro (ship level) and macro (regulatory framework and investment) steps forward requires access to high-quality datasets.

Ankeri provides a digital infrastructure to consolidate, structure, share and use data sets

With Ankeri, shipowners and charterers can build, maintain and share their maritime data sets easily. Ankeri builds the digital infrastructure and workflows that empowers shipping companies to collect and unify data streams, share these securely, and foster data collaboration with other ecosystem players.

Ankeri's Fleet and Chartering boosts shipowners and charterers with holistic lifetime files of their vessels. With Vessel Profiles, static vessels metadata becomes easily accessible for all use cases, from contract negotiations (technical questionnaires), to fleet management (dry docking, hull cleaning etc.) and operations (off-hire reports, bunker settlements, damage reports and more).

The Ankeri Workspaces module empowers contract partners to share vessel data and work on joint projects securely. The very essence of effective digital collaborations. Managing vessels' CII ratings between owners and charterers will be enormously simplified by having all relevant data (noon reports, high-frequency performance data, trade, weather and position data) available from a single source of truth.

Fleet & Chartering also features a vessel performance overview critical to track and improve vessel consumption and environmental footprint and a tool to compare and select the most efficient and environmentally friendly vessels on trades.

Thanks to Ankeri's Data Connections Hub, data, commonly siloed in expert systems, is made accessible internally to all departments and can swiftly be shared securely with external stakeholders. This is especially true for contextualised performance time series data, which is critical to analyse vessel optimisation initiatives and ensure their effectiveness.

With the Data Connections Hub shipowners can build a consistent data lake and a granular data-sharing API without any IT know-how. Owners simply define what gets shared, with whom and for how long, in an easy-to-use admin interface.

Finally, Ankeri Aware app helps everyone within the shipping enterprise to easily engage with and track the progress of vessels‘ sustainability goals.

With Ankeri, Shipowners and Charterers are prepared to meet the industries' future data-sharing requirements

Stakeholder data collaboration is at the heart of Ankeri’s vision to build software to improve vessel operations, efficiency and sustainability. The combination of unified data streams (Data Connections Hub) and digital workflows (Fleet & Chartering) is the future-proof tech stack that shipping companies need to meet the decarbonisation goals of the maritime industry.