The Briefing on the maritime industry

The news, views and numbers you need to know this month

News in numbers


Estimated number of premature deaths from lung cancer caused by ship emissions under current sulphur levels (3.5%), according to the journal Nature. This is expected to drop to 250,000 following the introduction of the IMO sulphur cap in 2020


Global market share for completed new-builds in China for the first nine months, including 29.36 million dwt, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology


Rough estimate of how many ships will be fitted with scrubbers to mitigate fuel sulphur content by 2020, according to independent IMO consultant CE Delft


Incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in the first nine months of 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018

Sept 2020

Launch date for the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, a fully autonomous AI-powered vessel set to mark the 400th anniversary of the first pilgrim ship to travel from the UK to the US


The percentage increase in cost of transporting a twenty-foot equivalent unit via the Northern Sea Route rather than the Suez Canal, according to a 2014 presentation made by Tuomas Kiiski, a research manager at Finland’s University of Turku

In quotes

Digital Readiness Institute founder Ade McCormack, speaking at the ICS Maritime Leadership 2019 this October in London, UK:

We don’t know the skills that we’re going to need in five or ten years and we have to start looking at capabilities and meta skills that can be applied to any role. Going beyond that, shipping firms must recruit based on traits, like grit, resilience, and sociality. 

Cooperative Bebeka general director Harry Vasse on BunkerTrace, a new blockchain and DNA-based tracking solution designed to increase transparency in the marine fuel supply chain:

Combining these two revolutionary technologies will provide an independent and transparent method for managing fuel quality throughout the bunker chain. Furthermore, it will support us in identifying the most reliable and trustworthy supply chains and streamline compliance.

Mergers and Partnerships

The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium have started discussions about the possibility of a merger to address the issue of growing competition. The two will continue the talks for two years until reaching the final decision. Both port authorities have selected consultancy firm Deloitte and the Belgian law company Laga to conduct a complementarity study. In the study, the ports were found to have similar external challenges. In a statement, the ports said: “The report of Deloitte and Laga states that the current cooperation between the two ports has little impact because of the existing competition, limited scope and low engagement.” Highlighting the possible synergy between the two ports, the report concluded that improved collaborations will enable the ports to deal with future challenges, including digitalisation.

Greek dry bulk shipping firm DryShips has received the approval of its shareholders to continue with the proposed merger with SPII Holdings. The deal was originally announced in August. According to the agreement, SPII Holdings will purchase the outstanding DryShips’ shares of common stock for $5.25 a share in cash. DryShips said that the majority of the shareholders voted in favour of the merger agreement. The merger has already been approved by the company’s board of directors. Following the completion of the transaction and the merger, DryShips will maintain its identity and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPII. After the merger, the firm will become a privately held company and its shares will be delisted from the Nasdaq Capital Market. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is scheduled to be completed on 11 October.

German technology firm MAN Energy Solutions and Norwegian marine technology firm Kongsberg have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a common data infrastructure for the maritime industry. According to the MoU, MAN Energy Solutions will use Kongsberg Digital’s data-infrastructure solution Vessel Insight to collect data. Then, the data will be transferred via MAN Energy’s digital platform MAN CEON. Both partners will test the effectiveness of their data infrastructure. If successful, the trial will enable MAN Energy Solutions to use advanced services, including its remote monitoring and optimisation package PrimeServ Assist to provide better customer service. Kongsberg Digital president and Kongsberg executive vice-president Hege Skryseth said: “The complexity of data capture and transfer drives up the cost of these essentially non-core activities and prevents efficient development of value-adding solutions to the market."