Experts debate sustainability and demo tech products onboard Traviata

Tech and maritime experts came together to showcase some of the industry’s most innovative digital products, services and concepts – and discuss greenhouse gas emission reductions – onboard Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s latest vessel Traviata.

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Maritime and technology companies discussed sustainability challenges facing the shipping industry – and shared possible digital solutions – at an event onboard Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s latest vessel MV Traviata.

Industry partner attendees included Lloyd’s Register, marine coatings specialist Jotun, Storm Geo, Kongsberg Maritime, Alfa Laval, Wilhelmsen Ship Services and Wallenius Marine. The line-up was completed by tech brands Cognizant, Raa Labs and Microsoft.

The event took place at Filipstad Quay in Oslo. Along with sister vessel Titus, MV Traviata is one of the fleet’s most environmentally-friendly and efficient RoRo vessels. As such, she provided the perfect backdrop for demonstrating bold new products and services, and giving guests a glimpse into the future.

“We believe very firmly we have to work across industries, together,” said Craig Jasienski, president and CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen. “Our competition is not with each other; rather, the goal is to have a planet that is sustainable.”

Nikolai Astrup, Norway’s Minister of Digitalisation, shared his thoughts on digital opportunities on the horizon. “The future belongs to those who stay ahead. The maritime industry has been at the technological vanguard for many years. Almost all of the most valuable companies in the world run on data,” he said.

Attendees were given a guided tour of MV Traviata and a chance to explore a sustainability and digitalisation exhibition showcasing new solutions and products.

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Following that, a panel session moderated by Roger Strevens, VP, global sustainability at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, saw experts discuss how the shipping industry could meet International Maritime Organization targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and 2050. The role of digitalisation in decarbonising the maritime sector was also put under the spotlight.

Panellists included Nikolai Astrup, Manoj Mathew from Cognizant, Harald Solberg, chief executive of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, and Katharine Palmer, global sustainability manager at Lloyd’s Register.

Katharine Palmer highlighted the disruptive nature of technology and the way in which it is encouraging businesses and society to transform. “It’s about understanding the whole value chain, particularly looking at new energy sources – where are those going to come from?”

She added: “We need to look at the whole lifecycle. We need to understand the interplay between different sectors and how they come together. That’s how you create change.”

Manoj Mathew, digital business AVP at Cognizant, made a comparison between the shipping and aviation industries. He said that in aviation, customers are more aware of potential problems occurring on the ground, which forces companies to look closely at any bottlenecks. In shipping, partnerships could help tackle such problems.

Nikolai Astrup stressed the need for companies to become sustainable in order to achieve profitability over the longer term. He pointed out that multiple forces would have to work together in creating such an economy.

“I like to look at the supply chain in a holistic manner,” he said. “Companies need to think about collaborating to make things happen, and to let start-ups come in and contribute – otherwise we’re going to be too slow. It’s taking a step toward a different world.”

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