“An ambition to strengthen shipping is of course welcome, but there must be an opportunity to develop the Swedish shipping industry with the same conditions as in other countries. We are facing a green transition that will take time and resources. That is why we from Stena Teknik, together with Chalmers University, have initiated the collaboration platform called Lighthouse”, says Harry Robertsson, CEO of Stena Teknik.
A major challenge is that shipping must become more sustainable. The requirements from the IMO say that all shipping globally must halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. At the same time, the global fleet will be about twice as large by 2050. Within the Lighthouse platform, which in addition to shipowners also brings together stakeholders from other industries and academia, future challenges in relation to the green transition and stricter environmental requirements are currently being discussed.
How to meet the challenge in reality?
To begin with, the Stena sphere, which includes Stena Teknik, is one of the world’s most sustainable company groups. There are many examples of how Stena Line in collaboration with Stena Teknik has worked to make shipping a little more sustainable.
In the 90s, Stena Line was one of the first to invest in technology for shore power, and a few years ago deployed the world’s first ship with combined methanol and diesel operation on the line between Gothenburg and Kiel.
In fact, to date, Stena Line has implemented over 320 energy saving projects at various levels. Then everything counts from connecting the vessel Stena Danica to land-based power to converting entire vessels for more environmentally friendly and efficient operation.
An extensive upgrade of existing vessels for battery hybrid operation is currently underway. Stena Elektra is world’s first electrified RoPax of its size. At the same time, another project is underway where artificial intelligence is used to help the crew drive more energy-efficiently.
Alternative fuels are constantly being investigated, methanol and LNG are obvious examples, but there are also studies on the propulsion using hydrogen-based fuels that Stena Teknik is currently testing.
There is a large organisation behind these initiatives, which requires perseverance and not least a large recruitment base.
Looking for shipbuilders
It is precisely the recruitment that Harry Robertsson worries most about.
“If we are to have sustainable shipping, we also need a sustainable recruitment base. To be a shipbuilder is to understand how all parts work in their entirety. Even though not many ships are built in Sweden, shipbuilding skills are needed to buy ships from other countries. You have to understand everything from cargo capacity, logistics on board and how ships should be built to keep fuel consumption down, for example”, Robertsson explains.
Today’s shipbuilders must therefore be both specialists and generalists. When the Stena companies order new ships, they want competent shipbuilders who make and follow the order as if they were actually building the ship themselves. There is a lot left to do, but Stena Teknik is positive about the future of Swedish shipping at large.