Where are the visionary maritime leaders?

Poul Woodall, a director at DFDS, writing a personal opinion column for Splash today laments the lack of true environmental leadership across the industry.

Will they appear in 2018? One reads that the average CO2 level of 403.3 ppm in our planet’s atmosphere in 2016 was a record. Yet scientists tells us this is not true. Some 3m to 5m years ago we had a similar levels. The only problem being, then the oceans water level was 10-20 m higher than today.

Maritime stayed out of any COP 23 commitments and EU decided not to include maritime in the ETS – for the time being.

Virtually every new ship being launched is “ the most environmentally friendly ship to date”. A statement that may be true, but why is this; because industry leaders have a conscience or down to the fact, that if you want to follow legislation, you have to build vessels this way. My gut feeling is the latter, we see so much greenwashing these days.

What our industry is missing is true environmental leadership, not through talk – but through action. Someone who dares to go beyond compliance and test out new technologies and that dares to fail in trying.

Leaders that for a moment forget the short term goals of ROI, EBITDA and whatever else they are being measured on and are motivated by doing what is right for our planet and aspires to be a true leader in the industry, admired for guts and vision.

If the maritime industry does not soon start to show courage and willingness to move forward on the climate and environmental agenda, legislators will force our hands. Based on past experience what they will come up with will be expensive and ineffective, after all they too have a short term horizon.

So to all the maritime leaders out there, make the right New Year’s resolution.

Will that true maritime leader please stand up in 2018?



  1. I have been trying hard to interest private equity into building a new green vessel to operate in a very special niche market.
    Needed is private equity of 6m$. can be also a small pool of investors.
    Vessel cost is 40m$
    LGN propulsion package
    No real success so far but I keep on trying, as I am convinced that this is the way to the future.

    As Poul Woodall says, for those who only focus on figures ROI is over 25% and EBITDA over 10m$
    Anybody interested can contact me for further informations.

  2. Dear Poul – my prediction for 2018 is that the leaders of the most vulnerable and remote – the Pacific Islands – will continue to drive for shipping to be a climate champion. Nothing less than High Ambition will be needed at MEPC72 – 1.5 to stay alive!

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