SAFETY4SEA Team met with Mr. Suresh Sinha, Managing Director, and Mr. S. Patil, Business Development, of the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) to discuss about industry’s key challenges and their expansion plans in the Greek market.
SAFETY4SEA Team met with Mr. Suresh Sinha, Managing Director, and Mr. S. Patil, Business Development, of the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) to discuss about industry’s key challenges and their expansion plans in the Greek market. Since opening its Greek office in 2010, based in Piraeus, IRClass has been actively engaged with Greek shipyards and owners to offer its full range of classification services. As explained, currently, IRClass is working on seeking authorisation from Greek maritime authorities to survey and certify all types of Greek flagged vessels.
Mr. Sinha referred to key developments of the IRClass during the last year; for example, they received recognitions from port flag administrations in the EU, such as Holland, while they are also continuously growing their geographical footprint, with the opening of new offices in Doha, Qatar and Dammam, Saudi Arabia. As explained, they are also planning to open offices in Ghana, and possibly in Philippines.
Another key development is the appointment of Mr. Arun Sharma, Executive Chairman of IRClass, as the new Chairman of IACS for 2019. Last year, in another exclusive interview, Mr Sharma had shared his insight on this development, discussing also the global trends concerning shipping market.
When asked about IRClass performance in the Greek market so far, Mr. Sinha commented:
This is a new market for us. We opened our office in 2010 and we see a lot of potentials there, so we are currently trying to position ourselves and enhancing our focus in Greece. We have already presence in Europe, we have office in Malta, in Cyprus, we are present in Bulgaria, and we are also looking forward to open an office in Germany.
Mr. Sinha noted that IRClass aims to assist the Greek maritime community by providing solutions for shipowners and helping them complying with the requirements, without compromising our quality.
He also referred to the imminent sulphur cap, which is ‘basically the main regulatory change that the shipping industry is facing today’, as he commented.
There are concerns about the availability of the compliant fuels, the pricing part is uncertain, there is also a concern about the compatibility of blended fuels. Switching over to the alternative fuels will be a long-term solution, but then it has its own challenges and cost implications,
…he added while for scrubbers he noticed that they have their own regulatory and technical challenges.
Weighing by the present trend, not more than 10% of the ships will likely be using scrubbers. There are definitely some uncertainties,
…Mr. Sinha commented with respect to scrubbers.
In order to assist operators with the new environmental regulations, IRClass has developed guidelines to help them select BWM units depending upon the area of operations and the type and size of their vessels. They have also developed guidelines on the requirements of survey and certifications and they also provide training on specific contingency measures.
In addition, Mr. Sinha noted that today industry is facing a lot of regulatory changes while it is also undergoing a rapid technological development.
I would suggest the shipping industry to comply with regulatory requirements because there is a lot of concern about the climate change. Also, shipping is undergoing a rapid development, such as digitalization. I think this is an opportunity for everyone to walk together for the development of the shipping future.
While suggesting ways to accelerate industry’s pathway to a more low-carbon industry, Mr. Sinha noted that collaboration between different stakeholders is vital for the long term. In the short term, our focus could be on strengthening the EEDI of ships, however “in the long-term there has to be an improvement in efficiency and eventually there has to be a universal green fuel. Only then we will be able to meet the targets of the new regulation. As for today, the immediate solution is to work together to find a solution,” he outlined.
When asked about industry’s priorities toward a more sustainable future for shipping, Mr. Sinha said:
The shipping industry, despite its downtrend, continues to grow. The Greek shipping is one of the best examples, as it is still going great. The current difficulties are only a phase. We have to continue with our technological advance and advancements. The digitalization will bring improvement, because we will get numerous data, which can be used effectively to achieve economical improvements and reduce emissions. Digitalization is the one thing that is going to help shipping’s sustainability. New technologies will have to come. So digitalization and industry partnerships will improve sustainability.
Concluding, Mr. Sihna once more highlighted that “we all need to come together and find solutions, walk together to comply with the requirements and move ahead.”