Bahri argues clearer financial incentives need to be in place to drive shipping's decarbonisation agenda. File Image / Pixabay
Shipowners should keep a realistic focus on financial imperatives in mind as well as the activist impulse to cut emissions as soon as possible when developing their decarbonisation plans, according to Saudi shipping company Bahri.
"When we talk about collaboration in carbon reduction technologies, there is a little bit of activism in many cases," Chakib Ali Saab, chief technology officer at Bahri, said at the Singapore Maritime Technology Conference on Tuesday as part of Singapore Maritime Week.
"What is not necessarily happening all the time, is that these carbon reduction solutions bring a financial impact that is positive to the organisation, and what we need to realise is that companies are there to create value for their shareholders."
Shipping companies must bring both approaches together as they take on new technologies to reduce their carbon footprint, Saab argued.
"One thing is to be activists and say, we need to do this. And there is a very different aspect to be realistic and say, OK, how do we do this and have a positive financial impact? The one thing you do not want to do is to put a bunch of effort and money on things that don't bring a competitive edge," he said.
"Talk about solutions that actually have a financial incentive to the organisations and to the end-users; at the end of the day, if it doesn't, it is not realistic to be mass-adopted in the real world."
One key measure that is likely to bring concrete financial incentives to maritime decarbonisation technologies is carbon taxation, with at least some of the funds raised going towards subsidies for zero-carbon fuels.