Engineering and technology professional services company Lloyd’s Register (LR) has launched a five-level framework that will assess the actual readiness of a vessel for the transition to zero carbon fuels.
The framework aims to help clarify what companies mean then they use the term ‘readiness’ across the shipping industry. Vessels will be ranked on a scale from one to five, with one being the most ready and five being the least prepared.
Lloyd’s Register developed the framework after observing that some shipowners have paper designs for converting their vessels to zero carbon fuel but no plan for how the conversion would be conducted in reality. Others have already installed some or all the required equipment to move towards zero-emission operations, and several have ships with a dual-fuel engine that can run on zero-carbon fuel, but require an engine retrofit to do so.
“As ships built today will still be in service in the 2040s, it is essential for shipowners to understand the full implications of actual vessel readiness for zero carbon fuels to meet the industry’s 2050 decarbonisation targets,” said Charles Haskell, director of LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub. “These differing standards and classifications across the industry have made it difficult for owners to conduct a transparent assessment of their vessels’ commercial prospects in a zero-emissions future.”
For example, an assessment of a container ship route in Southeast Asia by the LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub founds that 27 to 30 per cent of vessels built between 2022 and 2050 will still require conversion to a different fuel to meet zero-emission targets, despite initiatives being pushed forwards.
The framework will also provide clarity to stakeholders in the industry as they make financial decisions based on the desire to invest in companies aiming towards sustainability.
“LR’s efforts in creating a set of definitions for the various types of zero ready vessels is an important development, as it will allow parties to incorporate the relevant definition into their contracts, so as to identify precisely which type of readiness they adopt,” said Haris Zografakis, partner at law firm Stephenson Harwood.