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Finally, it's really for real

30 September 2021

After a tough climate package from the EU and an alarming report from the UN Climate Panel, everyone seems to agree: It's time to start for real. In the daily press and industry press, there are a lot more articles than before on the decarbonization of shipping.

On the same day as this is written, September 27, Dagens Nyheter has published an article entitled "Can the Swedish wind ship revolutionize shipping?". It is, of course, about Wallenius' huge car carrier Oceanbird, which is described in a journalistic way as "the ocean's Tesla".

That an article about the decarbonization of shipping ends up in the country's largest daily newspaper is symptomatic. In Lighthouse's tool for external monitoring, half of all articles that have been picked up from the Swedish daily press and that concern shipping in the past month have in one way or another been about and how the industry addresses the climate challenge. At the same time last year, just under a third of the articles about shipping in the daily press concerned decarbonization.

What is written in the international maritime press shows even more clearly that it is decarbonization that shipping is concentrating on now. During two of weeks in September, our tool captured 58 international articles on the topic of "research". Of these, 32 were about the development of alternative fuels, requirements for new regulations and instruments and other matters relating to the conversion of shipping. Articles from the same period last year give a completely different picture - only 13 of 69 articles related to the decarbonization of shipping.

- It is clear that the decarbonization of shipping has become important for real. There is dissatisfaction with the inertia within the IMO. The EU and nation after nation are pushing for rules and goals to be sharpened quickly. Things will happen in Europe, says Åsa Burman, operations manager at Lighthouse.

In the international maritime press the development of autonomous ships have long dominated articles on research - something that has slowed down in the last two or three years. This year, the articles on autonomous ships, as they were only four, which is a halving compared to the same two-week period in September last year.

- This shows that it is finally the industry needs that are at the center. There has never been a need for futuristic unmanned merchant ships and in Sweden we are not even talking about  autonomous ships but about smart ships. Of course, in the future there will be autonomous vessels in segments such as smaller urban shipping, but automation and digitization can above all help shipping to become more efficient and safer, says Åsa Burman.

A total of 148 "general shipping articles" from the Swedish industry and daily press were picked up by Lighthouse's tool for external monitoring during September. Of these, 68 concerned the e decarbonization of shipping. In the same month last year, a total of 141 articles were captured, of which 22 concerned the subject.

(Articles that have been published several times, for example from TT have been counted as one article.)

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