Close to 1,000 maritime exhibitors showed off the breadth and diversity of the shipping industry at this week’s Nor-Shipping, the bi-annual event that opened in Oslo on 1 June.
About 35,000 delegates from 70 countries are expected to attend more than 100 events during the weeklong event that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
The speakers said that innovation and investment are key to boosting the maritime industry to new levels. A mix of geopolitics, regulatory pressure, innovation and business issues were discussed at the NorShipping. They also discussed important issues for shipping now and in the near future.
Engineering experts at Nor-Shipping have called for more open-source systems to be used on vessels if shipping is to realize the efficiency goals for which it is striving. At the same time, it is predicted that the first unmanned ships could be on local waters within three years.
The participants shared their concerns on maritime industry that continues to face serious challenges that can partly be tackled by investment in innovation and a stable, co-operative, international regulatory framework.
Sturla Henriksen, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, then welcomed delegates with an inspiring speech on the shipping industry, which he said “contributes vitally to global economic growth and prosperity.”
“This industry is key to a sustainable global economic welfare. Carrying 90% of world trade, it represents less than 3% of global CO2 emissions. That makes this industry the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. So shipping is part of the solution.”
In her opening address, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg referred to her government’s newly announced national maritime strategy, saying that the Norwegian government wanted to establish a forward-looking framework for the industry.
“The industry has to invest in and adopt green technology. Norway will remain competitive by focusing on knowledge-based products. Our future lies in being smarter, not cheaper. That’s why we invest so heavily in innovation, research and development.”
Thomas Rehder, Managing Partner at Carsten Rehder and President of ECSA, said that LNG was a good example of a technology that needs a kick start and Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant US Coast Guard, said LNG was a huge opportunity.
Regarding regulation, Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland said, “The maritime industry is international. We need international rules and this takes time. But we have to be patient.”
Zunkunft expressed concerns about cyber security, asking “Are we resilient enough?” This was echoed in the keynote address for the “What’s Next” roundtable by Espen Barth Eide, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.
“Everything today is cyber. Any future conflict you will see will be a cyber-conflict. As we become more connected, be aware that cyber space is a domain equally as important as sea, air and land,” he said. “Any strategic competition that happens in a physical sense will also happen in cyberspace. Every conflict you see in the future will be a cyber-conflict.”
The Transformative Technology roundtable concluded with big data, connectivity and ship intelligence as the way forward.
“Are we ready to understand that we have to have open architecture integration platforms for everything that happens?” said Kongsberg Gruppen CEO Walter Qvam. “Hopefully, the times for the proprietary systems are over for good.”