World Maritime Forum: Copenhagen

It is amazing how much can be fitted into 48 hours and our recent trip to Copenhagen is testament to that – thanks in no small part to the World Maritime Forum. Over the space of two days, the event covered the usages of AI in shipping; sustainability and decarbonisation; the importance of the International Maritime Organisation; and seafarer safety and welfare. We left the conference with a number of key takeaways.

The opening speaker, Oliver Andreas Leszczynski from Meyer Werft, took us through his vision for AI in the maritime industry. He highlighted how its pivotal role is increasing and how it might solve some of the challenges that exist in maritime today: environmental regulations; supply chain disruptions; safety and security; labour shortages; and operational costs. Whilst thought must be given to how this technology is integrated and it is imperative regulatory and ethical considerations are reviewed, the opportunities of the use of AI in maritime are endless.

There was a fascinating panel on sustainability with speakers from the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Centre; MSC Cruises; AS Tallink Group; Odfjell SE; Svitzer; Stillstrom; and Bluetech Finland. Important points were raised around the difference between sustainability and decarbonisation; about how cost savings are a key driver for energy efficiency; and how key it can be to anticipate incoming regulation. Though the question of who pays for this transition remains, it was agreed by all that the environmental cost of not doing this work will ultimately be higher than the monetary cost of doing it.

Finally, the one thing that stood out amongst all of this were the words of Arun Sankar from Columbia Shipmanagement. Whatever the topic in maritime, whether we are talking about digitisation, decarbonisation, geopolitics, we cannot forget that people are at the heart of this. It is incumbent on everyone working in the industry to prioritise the welfare and safety of seafarers.

It was a privilege to attend the World Maritime Forum in Copenhagen and to learn as much as we did in such a short space of time. We’re grateful to the organisers of the event and the fantastic line-up of speakers.

  • Sarah Leonard at World Maritime Forum: Copenhagen