The introduction of new emissions control areas (ECA) off the coastal waters of the US and Canada promise great changes for shipping in the region. These
regulations coloured many of the topics discussed at the North American Committee of Germanischer Lloyd (GL), which met at the Hotel Delta in Quebec City this week. The Committee examined such topics as GL's activities, both globally and in the Americas, ship efficiency, the rising importance of natural gas for the maritime industry, the technical challenges facing shipping in reducing emissions and upcoming regulations.
The Committee, which only celebrated its inauguration in 2010, is made up of representatives from Canadian and American ship owners and operators, ship yards, maritime consultants, and other industry stakeholders, alongside delegates from GL. Torsten Schramm, GL's Chief Operating Officer, gave the attendees an overview of the new GL Group structure, highlighting the three business segments: Maritime, Renewables and Oil and Gas. He looked at the trends for the coming years in shipping and celebrated GL's fleet in service topping the 100 million GT mark.
Germanischer Lloyd's new Executive Vice President for the Americas, Uwe Bullwinkel, looked at the development of GL in the region. Mr Bullwinkel was most recently GL's Area Manager for Germany and is in charge of the Areas North/Central and South America. Mr Bullwinkel also looked at the coming introduction of the ECAs in the Americas. Adopted by the IMO at the 62nd MEPC, these areas will strictly limit the sulphur content of vessels operating in coastal waters. To solve the problems of having to switch to low sulphur content fuel when entering such areas, Mr Bullwinkel presented GL's new fuel change-over manual. This manual will help a ship's crew to plan and perform fuel change-over and minimise the lead time when making a fuel switch, resulting in significant fuel savings.
Retired US Coast Guard (USCG) Admiral Robert North, from North Star Maritime, laid out some of the coming regulations in the American region and their potential impact on the industry. The new "banning policy" from the USCG could have a significant impact on trading, he noted. Admiral North also examined the capital and installation costs the changes in ballast water treatment regulations could bring.
In his presentation "Marine Charts a Course Toward Major Natural Gas Demand", John Hatley, from Wartsila North America gave a comprehensive overview of the growth potential for the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in shipping. The US possesses massive reserves, he said, and the engine technology was tried and tested. Mr Hatley, advised that the current low price of LNG and the coming ECA in North America, combined with a growing infrastructure for gas bunkering and abundant reserves, meant that all the factors for the growing adoption of LNG in shipping were present.