Shipcon 2021 was all about energy transition, tech, diversity and a hackaton!
Shipcon 2021 was a hybrid conference organized by Youngship Rotterdam from 19th October till 5th November 2021 that was flagged off by Mr. Allard Castelein of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
In his key note address, Mr. Castelein set a powerful tone by highlighting the importance of embracing disruptions as opportunities rather than and the younger generation would be vital in achieving this.
The conference was built around the four pillars of Youngship Rotterdam and consisted of three key themes;
- Energy transition
- Digitalization and Technology
Each theme involved a keynote speaker or two detailing the current situation and the speaker`s perception of the future requirements for and from the industry.
Speaking on Energy Transition, it was Bjorn van de Weerdhof from Anthony Veder who made pertinent observations that climate change action is a demand of the present while being mindful of the obligation owed to the future generations. Bjorn gave an overview of the main regulatory carbon emission standards enforced thus making it amply clear the need of cleaner fuels; not just in concept but readily available to all. He was kind to share 5 action items on for energy transition –
- Voyage optimisation
- Go for energy if practically possible
- Future proof your vessel
- Invest in your knowledge on alternative fuels and other technology
- Talk to your customers
Digitalisation and Technology
Speaking on Digitalization and Technology, it was Oscar Pernia Fernandez from NextPort Tech who highlighted that port are often seen as a data vacuum in the supply chain and this would have to gradually change with transparency and data standardization. Oscar gave an overview of the current industry standardization rules but also highlighted the disconnect between them to flag the difficulties faced by the industry in achieving the epitome. Moving on to his main address, Oscar gave examples how how port call optimization would yield better results for the most parties involved and a key part to play in this is asset digitalization that add data for further analysis. Through this, he created a beautiful example showing the synergy between smart ports and process orchestration.
Speaking on Diversity, it was two powerful women; Heidi Heseltine from Halcyon Recruitment and Diversity Study Group and Christel Pullens from Sea Rangers. “Invite yourself to the party for change” and “change must permeate from within” are just some of the encouraging words these speakers shared while being reminded to be open-minded and understanding and embrace the diversity around us. The speakers also highlighted the importance of identifying a mentor in one`s professional life to guide oneself. Facts still highlighted this industry is till mostly male dominated which necessitating the need of the hour to reduce this gender gap by raising awareness, moderating behaviours, speaking at panel discussions etc.
Each keynote address was followed by and elaborated upon with a panel discussion that discussed major aspects from opposing sides and fielded questions from the audience. Overall, each session resulted in an enriching experience for the audience and the members of the panel.
To keep up with the uncertainties of the pandemic and to allow for flexibility, the keynote addresses and panel discussions were held online and are still available as on-demand.
While the participants had the above going on every Tuesday and Thursday going on for the participants on Shipcon 2021, there was clearly more for them! Surely this wasn’t just one of those, screen savers conferences we have endured after work hours through the majority of 2020 and 2021.
That is where Shipathon comes in!
The Shipathon was a hackathon like business challenge that focusses on three important issues for the shipping industry. One challenge was focussed on shipbuilding. The maritime industry need to get sustainable vessels for the energy transition, but the industry also need to get them in a sustainable way. Which changes to the shipbuilding process are required and how can the industry achieves them? The second challenges was focused on shipping: The transport of renewable energy carriers. Offshore wind farms can produce lots of sustainable hydrogen in the future, or perhaps even ammonia. Participants were challenged to find the right fleet to transport these renewable energy carriers. The third case was focused on finance. Participants were given information on an active portfolio of aged and newer vessels and had to reason which finance options they would give to the shipowner. The extra challenge was, considering the energy transition, how to take sustainability into account when financing vessels.
These challenge questions where transformed into concrete cases by a consortium of shipyards united by Deal Drecht Cities, STC-group and NIBC Bank. Young maritime professionals and students from different backgrounds worked together in 15 teams on one of the three challenges. They made a one-page report and a 2 minute pitch on how they would solve the challenges. Top entries were invited to share their pitches live, at the Shipathon final at Europort 2021 in Rotterdam Ahoy.
The winning groups tackled the sustainable shipbuilding challenge in a holistic and well-structured manner. They divided the challenge into the sustainable supply chain, sustainable yard, sustainable vessel and the required sustainable collaboration. Many suggestions were made for each part, like using hydrogen powered equipment at yards and working together with suppliers to create circularity. Even social aspects, like only collaborating with slavery free stakeholders, were also considered.