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EDITORIAL

Green Wave Rising

The Finnish maritime industry keeps heading to a more sustainable direction. In the spring of 2020, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy launched a new sustainable maritime industry development program, believing that climate targets and digitalisation will create significant new demand and business opportunities – as long as the industry remembers to keep investing in know-how and innovation. The program will run until the end of 2023.

Director Jarmo Heinonen from Business Finland, who serves as Chairman of the Steering Group of the development program, believes that the maritime industry is currently facing major challenges/ opportunities related to climate change and the requirements to reduce emissions. The national program is essential because it brings together different actors to promote the competitiveness of the Finnish maritime industry in a sustainable way.

Finnish maritime industry has always been and continues to be one of the world’s leading makers of innovative and energy-efficient ships and ship systems. The goal of the Finnish maritime industry is to develop solutions geared towards carbon-free and emission-free shipping. The new program, much in demand by the industry, strongly supports this goal.

In the spring it was also announced that industrial powerhouse Wärtsilä will launch a Zero Emission Marine research project with the aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport by 60% by 2030. In addition, all products in the ecosystem will be carbon neutral or carbon negative by 2050. The aim is to create an ecosystem of several different players – already numbering 200 – who will work together to develop zero-emission shipping solutions.

The project will introduce new fuels which require a wide range of expertise, from ship and engine design to advanced IT systems – and many corporate players have already signed up for the undertaking. The project will develop engine technology and energy and carbon storage systems for sustainable and carbon-neutral fuels. In addition, the digital solutions being developed will enable significant reductions in fuel consumption, which will improve the profitability of new fuels.

This carbon-free ecosystem is being strengthened by industry organizations, research institutes and universities. In addition, the intention is to cooperate with other pioneering ventures. For example, the new Meyer Turku project, which is developing a carbon-neutral cruise ship, has considerable “kinship” with the Zero Emission Marine project.

The new “save the world” agenda of leading maritime industry actors is also good business. The global market has its ways of rewarding the responsible companies – and punishing those deemed unsustainable.

Petri Charpentier

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Seatec 2/2023

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