Shipping’s decarbonisation drive is enriched by one more research and innovation centre, set up by Lloyd’s Register in Greece with the backing of five of the country’s biggest shipping companies.

Capital, Navios, Neda, Star Bulk and Thenamaris, which own and operate about 500 ships between them, signed up to the launch of a global Maritime Emissions Reduction Centre (M-ERC).

The non-profit outfit will collaborate with Lloyd’s Register’s existing Maritime Decarbonisation Hub.

Instead of focusing on longer-term strategies for future, ultra-low and zero-carbon fleets, M-ERC will concentrate on optimising the efficiency of the existing fleet.

This mission statement is in line with the needs of the Greek shipping community in general — which manages hundreds of mid-aged or older ships with years of useful life ahead of them, yet that require operational improvements to comply with ever-tighter environmental requirements.

“Energy-saving technologies and operational practices will play the primary role in delivering the 30% reduction of emissions targeted by the IMO in just six years from now,” said Lloyd’s Register chief executive Nick Brown.

“We need to make every upcoming dry-docking count, and the Maritime Emissions Reduction Centre in Athens will support our industry to evaluate and implement existing and new solutions.”

‘Make every dry-docking count’: Nick Brown, CEO of Lloyd’s Register. Photo: Stewart Hemley/ICS

Shipowners participating in the initiative concur that time is of the essence.

“We hope our collective efforts will bear fruits in the short term,” Navios Group principal Angeliki Frangou said.

Thenamaris chief executive Nikolas Martinos added: “There is a pressing need to identify and implement safe and practical solutions as we transition to the fuels and technologies of the future.”

In practical terms, the aim is to create a “collaborative safe space” to remove “technical, investment and community barriers for the uptake of solutions” to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the existing global fleet.

M-ERC will also carry out research in cooperation with shipyards, equipment manufacturers, ports and seafarer organisations.

Lloyd’s Register expects more shipping companies to sign up to the initiative in the coming months.

“This is a huge, proud moment for all of us,” Brown said.

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