Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge the shipping industry faces now and possibly will ever face, according to Charles ‘Bud’ Darr, Executive VP Maritime Policy and Government Affairs for ship operator MSC Group.

Delivering the latest in the London Talks series of video presentations, Bud Darr explored the range of challenges surrounding shipping’s decarbonisation goals and advised that stakeholders need to work together in strategic partnerships.

He stated: “What is the single biggest challenge that we’re facing? It is decarbonisation. This is not only the biggest regulatory challenge, and the biggest policy challenge, and practical challenge, that we’re facing today. In my opinion this will be the biggest one ever.”

“It’s certainly the biggest one so far and this is not something that’s going to be solved overnight,” he continued. “The work that we do today and the decisions that we make today are going to lay the foundation for a decarbonised future. That is essential, not only for shipping, but for all of society.”

Outlining the measures MSC Group is investigating as potential decarbonisation options for its fleet of container ships, cruise vessels, ferries, high-speed craft and other vessels, he explored the issues facing ship operators, including availability of alternative fuel sources, supply, storage, costs etc.

Mr Darr, who has a wealth of maritime experience in a number of sectors, advised there is no “one size fits all solution for shipping”. Explaining that it is too early to rule out any options at present, he commented: “Those that think that there’s one clear light at the end of the tunnel that we all should progress to, and use just that one fuel path, are in danger of being on a fool’s errand.”

While he discussed the potential merits and issues of various alternative fuel sources, he also remarked: “I predict that energy efficiency is going to play an even bigger role for alternative fuels in our future than it does today.”

And he predicted that customer pressure will have an influential role in shipping’s decarbonisation journey, concluding: “The people who are most attuned to this today are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. They are thought leaders right now and we should be listening to these signals.”

Bud Darr’s London Talks presentation – “Decarbonisation is shipping’s biggest challenge – ever!” – can be viewed here 

London International Shipping Week 2021 runs from September 13 to 17, 2021. For more information see the dedicated event website:

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