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From the News Desk: Why shipping’s future requires 20/20 vision

Our special report shows transparency is crucial to shipping’s future, but the industry is far from where it should be

Shipping has long been content to keep its inner workings out of sight. This must change

FOR some time now, Lloyd’s List has championed the need to find new ways of unlocking and creating value for shipping, advocating transparency as one of the keys.

As our special report this month makes clear, it is transparency that sits at the heart of meeting most of shipping’s future challenges.

Companies must replace paper trails with digital systems, then plug these into a more connected future supply chain. That can’t happen if shipping clings to its culture of secrecy.

Access to comprehensive data is crucial if shipping is to reap the benefits, from cutting emissions to boosting efficiency. But its culture of opacity has muddied the waters.

That opacity benefits shipping’s darker corners. Our report reveals how ships sold for scrap are secretly reborn into in Iran’s subterfuge tanker fleet.

Lloyd’s List’s investigation into subterfuge shipping has highlighted growing pressure on responsible owners to stay compliant with the web of global sanctions – and to hand over more information in order to do so.

Growing pressure to address environmental, social and governance issues is another point in transparency’s favour.

But there is a long way to go. The EU’s emissions database, for example, was hoped to set the standard for transparent reporting — but in 2019 fell short by some 12m tonnes.

Initiatives such as the Sea Cargo Charter promote the sharing of emissions data to help shipping decarbonise. But some owners complain these are little more than window dressing.

Commercial omerta — the code of silence — is also a big reason so many pirate attacks still go unreported, helping obscure the threat and increasing the risk to the wider industry.

The hope is that more openness will lead to more business innovation, and in turn to a better and more profitable industry.

For that to happen, the industry must be willing to change its ways.

Over the course of 2021 Lloyd’s List will host a series of live digital events, on-demand content and special reports examining the various tipping points and dynamics that will shape the future of global maritime sector and many of the changes that must now happen.

The Future of Shipping series will gather industry leaders, policy-makers, investors, financiers and sector experts to offer a unique programme of informed analysis and intelligent debate that will build over the year into an industry playbook for a sustainable and profitable future.

The first webinar in our Future of Shipping series discusses the dynamics at play in digitalization of the maritime sector. You can register for free to attend on March 17 at 9am London / 5pm Singapore time by clicking on the banner image below.

How to Digitalise Shipping

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