Decarbonising the Future of Maritime with DNV

As part of our blog’s thought leadership series centred around sustainable shipping and decarbonisation, we spoke to Dr. Shahrin Osman, DNV Regional Head of Maritime Advisory and Director of Centre of Excellence on Maritime Decarbonisation and Autonomy. Dr. Osman shared with us his views on decarbonisation and the green transition in the Singapore maritime sector, while discussing DNV’s initiatives aimed at accelerating this essential agenda. 

Dr. Shahrin Osman, DNV Regional Head of Maritime Advisory and Director of Centre of Excellence on Maritime Decarbonisation and Autonomy

What does DNV hope to see in the near, mid- and long-term in terms of sustainability and decarbonisation in the maritime industry?

In the near and mid-term, we should be working towards meeting 2030 and 2050 goals, as we move into a new era with many unknowns. People will be reacting to the regulations, but knee-jerk reactions should be avoided. Instead, we should be planning ahead with regards to stakeholder requirements and expectations. It is also very important to be involved in pilots, programmes, and joint industry projects, where we can gain knowledge while getting familiar with the risks and opportunities involved.

In the long term, we hope to see an increase in the adoption of alternative fuels and an improvement in energy efficiency, especially in Singapore. Companies should take a holistic approach to improving their emission levels with regards to the performance of their fleet. 

What are some green/sustainable initiatives that DNV is working on, with the industry?

In Singapore, DNV has set up a regional Centre of Excellence on Maritime Decarbonisation and Autonomy. One of our primary objectives is what we call “knowledge sharing”. We organise industry webinars involving important stakeholders such as universities, authorities like the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), and other solution providers to facilitate the exchange of knowledge. In addition, the Centre brings companies together through joint industry projects, to discuss and look at areas where decisions and actions need to be taken collectively as an industry.

One of the latest joint industry projects that we are leading is the ammonia bunker safety study commissioned by the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD). We are working with 21 other industry partners on this important study as ammonia is a relatively new molecule in the maritime application. 

On the topic of fuels, are there any particular green fuel alternatives you hope to see become readily available in the near future?

Currently, there are many solutions targeted at emission reduction; Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is one example. LNG is often regarded as a transition fuel because it only reduces CO2  emissions by 20 to 25 percent, but it can also be viewed as a “fuel in transition”. I hope to see greater developments in bio-LNG and subsequently in synthetic LNG derived from renewable electricity. In prioritising the LNG transition (i.e. moving from fossil to bio to synthetic), we can leverage the existing infrastructure such as LNG tanks, bunkering vessels and pipelines. We hope that in the near future, we will be able to get stakeholders in the value chain to support us with the production of this green alternative, so that we can create a new ecosystem with bio-LNG similar to as what we have succeeded in doing with fossil LNG.

Best fuel options as of 2022

As LNG is regarded as a “transition fuel”, how effective has LNG been as a fuel option for shipping companies in achieving their sustainability goals?

The numbers speak for themselves with regards to the increased uptake of LNG as a dual fuel, particularly since last year. In fact, one of our key concerns right now is that the demand seems to be outpacing the supply in terms of the number of newbuilding orders for LNG as fuel vessels when compared to LNG bunkering vessels that will be delivered in the next few years. This is further indication of the increased adoption of LNG as a fuel option.


Development of LNG fleet by year and vessel type
Newbuilding orders with alternative fuels

What is your assessment of the approach that the maritime community in Singapore is taking in terms of accelerating sustainability in general, and decarbonisation in particular?

Singapore has always focused mainly on economic growth, but things took a turn for the better at the end of 2019 when we acknowledged that the climate impact is an important aspect of the nation’s economic transition. Empowered by the support of the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, there has been a shift in our thought processes, leading to a policy focus beyond pure economics – a change that the maritime ecosystem has quickly embraced. 

Initiatives like the establishment of the GCMD display Singapore’s clear commitment to establishing itself as a strong global leader within the industry, amplifying its role as a maritime hub in Asia Pacific. The Centre was a key recommendation by the International Advisory Panel (IAP) put forward by the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), and it will receive $60 million over the span of five years from the MPA, which is topped up by industry partners such as DNV.

If you had a “wish list” what more would you hope could be done in terms of accelerating the green transition?

As I am involved in the Leading Maritime Cities Report, one area that has been highlighted for improvement is maritime finance. In the latest report, Singapore was ranked 8th in this category though it falls within the top 5 in others and leads the overall ranking. My hope is to have Singapore position itself as a green finance hub for maritime globally. To do so, we have to not only involve finance professionals, but also invest in the right resources and policy framework while acquiring support from the entire industry. 


Dr. Shahrin Osman presenting the Leading Maritime Cities report at the SMF New Year Conversations 2022

Do you think the tertiary institutions in Singapore are effective enough in terms of embedding sustainability in all its aspects—R&D, engineering, technology, management—into their curriculum?

I think we are gradually incorporating these subtopics into the curriculum, but more can be done. I am glad to share that we at DNV will be developing a white paper on the future of seafarers in this decade of transformation. With the future presenting an array of alternatives beyond the standard fossil fuels we see today, we hope that the white paper can provide guidance to the industry on how we should improve the training, upskilling and competence development offered so that the seafarers will be future-ready.  

Another area is that the R&D in tertiary institutions should be more industry focused. The curriculum needs to be aligned with supporting the industry’s current problems as well as anticipating future ones. More joint industry projects that involve both the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and major industry stakeholders should be facilitated to ensure R&D efforts and investments are supporting the industry’s transformation.

What are some tips you can give students and companies aspiring to be part of the green transition in maritime?

Steven Covey’s “7 Habits” tells us to “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Similarly, since the green transition requires knowledge in various fields, it is important to be collaborating with others and learning from each other as a team. I also advise people to get comfortable working with data. Irrespective of the faculty you are in, you should build up a certain level of coding skill and be familiar with digital technologies and data analytics, as these skills will be essential for students and jobseekers. 

Additionally, automation will be key for companies as it will allow them to operate more efficiently, leading to increased productivity. Companies must invest more in technology because it is with Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence and analytical skills, that they will be able to achieve efficiency gains through data driven solutions. This will allow for a reduction in operational costs and a boost in competitiveness. 


Want to be part of this green transition in the maritime industry? Visit the Maritime Singapore Connect Office career portal for job opportunities available now!


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The 2022 SMF New Year Conversations that took place on 13 January 2022 was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. Over 250 industry leaders across the breadth of maritime attended physically and virtually.
Singapore was announced to have secured the overall top spot as an international maritime centre for the fifth consecutive time in the DNV-Menon Leading Maritime Cities 2022 report.
Thank you to our industry partners for your strong support.

Mr. Lars Kastrup


Mr. Lars Kastrup is the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL).

Prior to joining PIL, Mr. Kastrup was CEO of NOL/APL, and subsequently assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and M&A at CMA CGM Group. A veteran in the global shipping industry with over 30 years of experience, Mr Kastrup’s other roles include Executive Vice President of Assets at CMA CGM Group heading up CMA Terminals, CMA Ships, Container Logistics as well as regional carriers such as MacAndrews, OPDR and Mercosul; as well as Vice President at AP Moller-Maersk.
Mr. Kastrup complemented his tertiary education with leadership and management training at Penn State University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Angeline Teo


Ms. Angeline Teo is the Managing Director and Head of Global Transportation and Offshore, Global Corporate Banking at OCBC Bank which focuses on the maritime, aviation, land & port ecosystems.
Ms. Teo has spent over three decades in maritime finance. Prior to OCBC, Ms. Teo was working at ING Bank, ABN Amro and DnB in Singapore focusing on maritime and offshore.
Ms. Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration.

Mr. John Martin


Mr. John Martin began his career in London in 1989 with Richards Hogg Lindley Average Adjusters, and qualified as a Fellow of the UK Association of Average Adjusters in 2000.
At RHL he worked in their offices in Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2003 he joined Gard Hong Kong, as a claims handler. Mr. Martin also worked in Gard Japan, and in 2014 he moved to Singapore to set up the Gard Singapore office.
Besides running Gard Singapore, Mr. Martin also heads the P&I and H&M claims units and is the Senior Claims Representative for Gard in Asia.

Mr. Cyril Ducau


Mr. Cyril Ducau is the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte Ltd, a leading shipping company headquartered in Singapore for the past 30 years.

He is also currently the Chairman of Kenon Holdings Ltd and a member of the board of directors of Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd. and of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation Limited, which was established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. He was previously Head of Business Development of Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited in London from 2008 to 2012 and acted as Director and Chairman of Pacific Drilling SA between 2011 and 2018.
Prior to joining Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited, Mr. Ducau was Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co. International Ltd. in London between 2000 and 2008.
Mr. Ducau graduated from ESCP Europe Business School (Paris, Oxford, Berlin) and holds a Master of Science in business administration and a Diplom Kaufmann.