Sailing Out of a Slump with Eco-Friendly Offerings

Freight ShipThe shipyard industry is sailing out of the economic slump of 2008. Many shipyards are keeping afloat by relying on outsourcing and streamlining their services. Some are finding success by tapping the offshore industry and others are enjoying the rising rates of global shipping freight. Globally, however, the shipyard business is still uber competitive and many yards are struggling to stay competitive. In fact, industry experts predict that China (where so much of that global freight is coming from) will see a reduction of shipyards from 100 down to just 30 in a few years. Shipyards that are hoping to ride out the remnants of that economic slump are setting a course for other options—and those options are decidedly eco-friendly.

Keeping Up With Innovations
Shipbuilders are moving in some innovative new directions. Many in the U.S. are developing LNG-fueled tankers that will run on fuel derived from the shale gas surplus, while other builders are focused on moving away from fossil fuels to operate their ships. In fact, Nor Lines of Norway is working on a hybrid shaft generator that will make the most of electrical power. As newly constructed ships increasingly adopt green innovations, repair shipyards can service them are set to see a rise in demand—and many already are.

Keeping It Green
Many repair shipyards are already touting eco-friendly services and products. Some are offering simple solutions like eco-friendly paint. Others are making an incredible difference in sustainable solutions, like a San Francisco shipyard that is experimenting with an eco-friendly method of blast cleaning. In the past, blasting off paint and sludge has been a filthy business with grit winding up all over the yard, the ship, and into the water. With new technology in the works, the blasted material is cleanly collected during the process so the environment stays tidy—and healthy.

As shipping companies look to wind and solar to power up, they’ll be relying on repair yards that can service this equipment. In this light, sustainable solutions aren’t merely a trend; they are going to amount to real bread and butter for many shipyards that are quick to adapt, and that will amount to more green in their bank accounts.

How Green Is Your Shipyard?
While many shipyards make mention of sustainability on their websites, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to adopt substantial eco-friendly solutions and practices to attract shipping companies that already, in large measure, have gone green. From products like marine coatings to practices that decrease waste and pollution, sustainable solutions are in vogue, and that’s a trend that’s not likely to go away. By taking inventory of your shipyard, you can begin to identify where green solutions can be incorporated into your offerings to accommodate ships looking for eco-friendly yards and services.

Although some shipyards may find it difficult to change hats and go green, it’s worth beginning the process so that plans can be made to slowly make shifts. By investigating the logistics of going green, your shipyard can begin to make small changes and plan for larger ones that will keep you ahead of the curve, competitive and in a prime position to benefit from eco-initiatives.

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