Jan 2023

The leading shipping publication TradeWinds asked industry leaders for their view on ‘Shipping’s $1 billion question’ – namely how they would invest $1bn to make the industry both sustainable and profitable.

This is the view of Nicholas Georgiou, CEO of Lomar Shipping.  

The need for reforms to accelerate decarbonisation is indisputable. Environmental change is happening, our planet is warming and our generation has the important task of averting this climate catastrophe. We must fix the problem – and our maritime industry must do more.

Despite the efforts of many, there is currently no clear winner in the decarbonisation race – and a single answer is unlikely in the short-term. Systemic change is necessary.

Acceleration is needed to move maritime towards zero carbon emissions despite the world’s rampant economic and political challenges. It will require further regulatory intervention, radical scaling of alternative fuel production, investments in infrastructure to ensure alternative fuels are available worldwide, fleet readiness, disruptive technology inventions and the courage to let go of the status quo and force through the necessary changes.

Holistic collaboration and action with industry partners is essential to find solutions. Owners, operators, fuel suppliers, vessel designers and engine manufacturers must work together with industry groups and policy makers, maritime organisations and bodies to collectively shape our future.

The private sector can and needs to support the emergence of disruptive technology inventions. And we have a unique role to help early-stage technology companies hit milestones.

Lomar is ready to play its part and is evolving now. We believe technological innovation is key to decarbonisation and it is in our business interests as well as our responsibility to accelerate this.

Where would we invest $1B?

Firstly, in companies where we can add the most value – giving access to infrastructure to pilot new technologies, provide insights to help navigate the complexities of the industry, or put in large orders to scale. Right now we are embarking on a long-anticipated effort to partner with and provide support and capital to early-stage technology companies tackling the core issue of decarbonisation but learning that the ecological and economic incentives often conflict. This is where Government can step in and provide the necessary tools to encourage more to embark on this challenging journey. With no current single silver bullet technology to help our industry decarbonise we would use such funding to support as many companies and solutions as possible, starting with those that have the best cost-benefit ratio to lower carbon emissions.

Secondly, we would look to diversify into different sectors and invest in assets and/or companies that service and support offshore wind projects – especially those developing vessel design and propulsion concepts that further reduce energy consumption and minimise their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As a part of our Libra Group’s ecosystem of businesses, we are on a trajectory to expand in reach and capability, through our sister subsidiary Americraft Marine and its newly acquired US-based ship building facility specialising in constructing and repairing vessels that provide support and services to offshore wind farms. With the group’s expertise in the renewable energy sector we are looking to leverage synergies in that knowledge and infrastructure within offshore wind projects together with the necessary advancements in technology.

Ultimately our industry would benefit from more effective regulations and policies that incentivise the private sector by making technology adoption at least economically break-even, if not economically positive. This can be achieved through reasonable carbon credits that offset the cost of new technologies to fundamentally change the economics and finally set us on a path for a cleaner future.

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