Malaysia is going full speed ahead with green shipping

Adopting green shipping practices a top priority for shipowners in Malaysia.

Many shipowners in Malaysia have had discussions with shipbuilders and designers regarding fulfilling the aspiration of having vessels with green technology.  In fact, some of them already have hybrid and LNG ships.

The adoption of green shipping practices is a top priority for shipowners in order to address environmental issues, said the chairman of Malaysian Shipowners’ Association (MASA) Mohamed Safwan Othman. According to him, there are about 200 shipowners in Malaysia.

“Shipowners in Malaysia are very serious in responding to the government’s call to support green shipping. The response has been encouraging,” he told Maritime Fairtrade.  However, he also said shipowners are facing challenges, particularly in getting funds to support efforts to adopt green shipping practices as green technology ships require high costs.

“The main problem is to get sufficient funds. Shipowners need financing to support them in the transition to green shipping. This is because high-tech green ships require high costs,” he said. 

Meanwhile, at the Malaysia Maritime Week 2022 (MMW 2022) held in Kuala Lumpur from February 22 to 25, Mohamed Safwan said in a speech that the emergence of new technologies offers opportunities to enhance the efficiency of the shipping industry and reduce its carbon footprint.  

He said the evolution of ship design, more efficient engines, use of new materials and operational research combined with data analytics and sensors, all present opportunities for industry players. 

“Tackling the green challenges will require all stakeholders to come together as we often hear the call for a level playing field. This puts a great responsibility on bodies like the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to set global standards that are realistic, practical and implementable. 

“This requires deep knowledge of the issues, strong stakeholder engagement and professional expertise.” 

Mohamed Safwan said that MMW 2022 was designed to foster open dialogue and the interactive panel discussions involved topics such as technology transfer, new and existing environmentally-friendly technologies, and future modes of collaboration, to set the stage for a wider series of discussions on how best to establish a global network of maritime technology cooperation to share expertise among the industry fraternity. 

The ideas garnered from MMW 2022 were the first step in fostering a culture of international collaboration in the development, deployment and exchange of environmentally-sustainable maritime technologies and the key logic of bringing all parties together is the importance of collective decision making, he said.

“For example, shipowners will not install LNG or battery technology for all-electric operation before the infrastructure is in place. Likewise, gas and electricity suppliers and ports will not build the infrastructure before the market is there. 

“And thirdly, it does not help that the ships can sail and fill green fuel from a well-developed infrastructure if cargo owners and logistics companies will not prioritize sustainable transportation and invest in them. The authorities must facilitate for it all to happen as it is a very capital-intensive industry.” 

However, he is confident that stronger partnerships can be built in steering the shipping industry towards a more sustainable future. 

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said at MMW 2022 that the maritime community should work with the government to actively support a greener transition of the shipping sector into a sustainable future. 

“To achieve this initiative, we need a strong partnership as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or SDG 17, to allow all parties involved to share and distribute information on best practices and to access resources and general know-how. 

“We need to focus on the importance of a sustainable maritime sector, and the need to build back better and greener in a post pandemic world.”

He noted the significant contribution of the maritime industry to the country’s economy.  Port Klang and Port Tanjung Pelepas registered 13.64 million TEUs and 11.2 million TEUs respectively in 2021, and they are among the top 15 of the world’s busiest container ports. 

“Hence, the government will spare no effort to continuously develop the industry by enhancing its capacity, developing human resources, ensuring the safety of ships and navigation, and continuously providing efficient ancillary services. 

“This will continue to be our top mission since securing a ninth consecutive term in the recent 32nd session of the IMO Assembly in December 2021, allowing Malaysia to retain her seat in Category-C of the IMO Assembly for the 2022-2023 biennium. This would aid Malaysia’s long-term commitments and contribution to the programs and ideals of the International Maritime Organization and its constituent agencies.”

Photo credit: iStock/ nightman1965

Dalila Abu Bakar

Dalila Abu Bakar

Dalila Abu Bakar possesses more than 25 years of experience in journalism and had worked with many established mainstream media in Malaysia including New Straits Times and the Malaysian National News Agency.

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