Across the various divisions at Stena exciting transformations are underway. Witness plans to become the world’s first decarbonisation exploration driller or the Stena Elektra, a futuristic looking hybrid ferry.
Over at Stena Bulk, there’s also plenty of work going on to ensure the Swedish company’s tankers of tomorrow will be both pioneering – as is the company way – as well as future proofed, all backed by the group’s marine technology experts at Stena Teknik.
Stena Bulk has a long history of bringing out eye-catching new tanker designs.
We will not order any new traditional ships with traditional propulsion again
Stena’s reputation as pioneers is not lost on Erik Hånell, the president and CEO of Stena Bulk, who has been with the company for 22 years including nine years in the top post.
“We like to see ourselves in the forefront of development together with a few others,” Hånell says. “We are a very curious company in culture as is Sweden.”
Hånell is a big believer in collaboration if shipping is to meet its environmental targets.
The challenge right now, he says, is who takes the first step in developments, taking biofuel testing as an example, something the company has carried out successfully recently.
“It costs more to be first,” Hånell concedes.
A future fuel Stena Bulk is placing significant emphasis on is biomethanol.
Steel cutting on the first of three methanol-fuelled tankers Stena is building with partners Proman Shipping started last month at Guangzhou Shipyard International in China.
Moving shipping to greener pastures will require incentives, the shipowner says.
“Incentives for shipowners to do things will be very important so they don’t have to rely on the markets, so that they will get something from day one,” Hånell says.
For the opening weeks of 2021, Hånell has been fighting dire markets with most tanker segments in loss-making territory. Any sign of an improvement is a way off, he cautions.
“Quite a few fundamentals are suggesting the second half could be better, but it is still hard to see a stronger trend,” the Swede says.
In terms of fleet developments, Hånell says Stena Bulk will not order any new traditional ships with traditional propulsion again as technology is moving so fast.
The company only recently came out of a major shipbuilding programme so has no need right now for any serious injection of new tonnage.
“Patience is a good word to use right now,” Hånell stresses. “The tanker industry does not need new ships right now.”
Stena Bulk is one of the world’s largest tanker owners with 75 ships totalling 3.7m dwt on its books.