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New pre-study: Both technical competence and general environmental knowledge are needed

19 May 2021

Technical competence linked to new technology and new fuels is not enough. An "environmental awareness culture" also needs to be created. A new pre-study, carried out within the industry program Sustainable Shipping provides suggestions on how Swedish maritime education can contribute to making shipping environmentally sustainable.

Shipping is constantly facing new challenges, both in the form of stricter regulations and new technology required to achieve climate and environmental goals. So how can Swedish education contribute to the development of shipping? The question that was initially asked by Kjell Larsson, a researcher at Linnaeus University, is the basis for the pre-study Education for environmentally sustainable shipping, which was carried out within the Swedish Transport Administration's industry program Sustainable Shipping, which Lighthouse runs.

- We interviewed representatives from authorities, shipping companies and other actors to identify how they acquire knowledge and what skills that are needed in the industry. We also did an analysis of the current educations within the maritime sector, says Kent Salo, a researcher at Chalmers, who led the work on the feasibility study.

Those interviewed consistently said that there was a great need to meet the challenges of new technology.

- It was about everything from gas purification systems to new fuels. Should you invest in ammonia or hydrogen? At management level, you want knowledge to make the right decisions.

Concerns about the technology were expected. More surprising was that there was a clear demand for a general environmental knowledge - everyone in the organization needs to have an understanding of working with environmental challenges.

- An opportunity that we saw here is to work with the same methods and tools that are used for safety issues to create a culture of environmental awareness. It is something we want to explore further, says Kent Salo.

Today, a lot of competence is acquired through internal and external training, for example through continuing education provided by universities, but both shipping companies and authorities also emphasized the importance of networks.

- For example, many thought that Lighthouse seminars were important. We interviewed a number of people in environmental management. They have to keep up to date with the development of new fuels, electrification and regulations. For them, seminars in which researchers and companies participate are very important.

Read the report (Swedish)

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