Friday, November 8, 2013

Indian ship owners order newbuildings in Japan, Korea & China : Noboru Ueda


In a rendezvous with Sagar Sandesh on the sidelines of the recently held INMEX India 2013 maritime exhibition and conference in Mumbai, ClassNK President and Chairman Noboru Ueda responded to an array of questions on ClassNK’s corporate growth achievements, current status of the global maritime sector and Indian maritime industry.


What is ClassNK assessment of Indian maritime trade and what is your forecast on the Indian fleet growth?        

The Indian economy at this stage appears to be in a “Drift” mode. That is to say that the global conditions in each kind of trade (that is crude, coal, steel, chemicals, etc.) are driving the Indian markets. There do not appear to be any future plans or measures being adopted or considered at the moment.

There also now seems to be a trend of Indian ship owners increasingly ordering newbuildings from shipyards in Japan, China and Korea with shipbuilding activity in India decreasing as a result. In regards to the Indian shipping industry, normal trade appears to be continuing steadily though at a lesser intensity than before.

This inactivity may benefit or harm the economy of the country which is difficult to comment on. However, with the abundance of excellent human resources available in India, and its high standing in the global maritime industry, we believe that the shipbuilding and shipping industries of India will continue to grow and develop in the future.

What is ClassNK’s market share in Asia and how much is the increase following the transition of the company to new General incorporated Foundation since April 1, 2011?

The ClassNK classed fleet was roughly 7, 400 ships or approximately 183 million gross tons on April 1, 2011. The ClassNK classed fleet now stands at roughly 8, 400 ships or approximately 219 million gross tons as of Sept. 30, 2013. This is an increase of roughly 1, 000 vessels or approximately 36 million gross tons over the period of two and a half years since April 1, 2011. According to the Clarksons World Fleet Register, this currently represents 38% of the Asian classed fleet (including the Indian Subcontinent) in terms of gross tonnage.

How effective is the ‘Global Approach 200’ mid-term plan you unveiled in June 2011 to expand your footprint?     

In the Global Approach 200 we set out a number of objectives on top of goals regarding increases in ship registrations. The plan has been very successful. By accomplishing these objectives through the collective efforts of everyone at ClassNK, we were able to gain the further trust of our customers, which we believe has led to the greater increase in terms of gross tonnage in our classed fleet we are seeing today.

You have served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of IACS between 2010 and 2012 – Could you share with us your achievements while at the helm of the high office?

During my time as Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies from July 2010 until June 2011, and as Vice Chairman until June 2012, ClassNK helped make many valuable contributions to the maritime industry through IACS. During my Chairmanship, IACS made a number of significant contributions to the maritime industry viz.

1. Proactive technical contributions towards the Harmonised Common Structural Rules (H-CSR) and the IMO Goal Based Standards (GBS): ClassNK made many contributions to H-CSR, which will provide the basis for the proper construction of oil tankers and bulk carriers by harmonising each set of constructions rules into a unified set of rules for both types of ships. GBS is a broad, over-arching set of safety, environmental and/or security standards that ships are required to meet during their life cycle, including H-CSR. With a view to applying for the GBS verification request by the end of 2013, I, as Chairman of IACS, made working on the finalization of H-CSR in compliance with the GBS a top priority during my tenure.

 2. Tackling GHG Emissions: Another key issue that IACS tackled during my time as Chairman was the reduction of GHG emissions. Among the many efforts undertaken at the time were the contributions towards the adoption of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). Under my leadership IACS made many technical contributions to EEDI at IMO MEPC62 in July 2011. In particular, IACS created an expert group for environmental issues and, responding to the industry, developed guidelines on minimum speed during ship operations, which is required in calculating EEDI. IACS also worked with the international ship owners’ associations and Asian shipbuilders, to help create the guidelines for the implementation of EEDI.

3. Working towards a more transparent IACS: In order to resolve any suspicions that IACS breached European Commission (EC) competition laws, IACS submitted a pledge, the “IACS Commitment” to the EC. The pledge stated the IACS was undertaking plans to make itself a more transparent international union based on a set of objective standards. It is important to have greater transparency in eligibility standards for new IACS members as well as adopt a new IACS Quality Management system to ensure greater independence and a higher level of quality. This saw the entry of the Croatian Register of Shipping on May 3, 2011, and the Polish Register of Shipping on June 3, 2011, and the complete implementation of the IACS Quality Management system on Jan. 1, 2011.

Though my leadership of IACS came to an end last year, ClassNK is fully committed to continuing to contribute to IACS and help reflect the views of the industry in any new developments.

From the time of taking up of office by you in 2008, ClassNK has witnessed an addition of 45 million Gross Tons to its register – Could you tell us how the phenomenal growth was possible?     

ClassNK has always been responding to the needs of its clients across the world it works. Through over 120 exclusive survey offices across the world we carry out swift yet thorough surveys and provide various IT services for the convenience of our customers.

As a result, we have been able to secure the trust of our customers, and vastly increase the number of newbuildings and existing vessels on our register.

Do you think the future belongs to green ships like wind, solar and hydrogen driven vessels phasing out greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuel based ships?    

From a technological and economic perspective, we believe that the use of fossil fuels in ship operations will continue.

However, there is a need for a long term goal to be in place where we can see the practical realization of non-fossil fuel propelled vessels. However, this goal cannot be achieved without serious technical innovation, which means there is a need to solve a number of technical matters.

In order to solve these technical matters, we are participating in a national GHG reduction technology plan, making both technical and financial contributions. We have been carrying out joint research with the industry in wind powered propulsion and solar energy among many other projects.

We are looking into the use of hydrogen as a means of reducing GHG, and are carrying out research and development in hydrogen powered plants and fuel cells as well as participating in joint research with the industry in infrastructure for transporting and storing hydrogen.

You have recently signed an MoU with Indonesian classification society – How do you view the partnership?         

NK entered into a comprehensive cooperation agreement with the Indonesian classification society Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia (BKI) on Sept. 26, 2013. Up until now, ClassNK and BKI have entered into agreements regarding the survey of ships and have been working together for over 40 years. This new agreement was created to establish an even closer level of cooperation between ClassNK and BKI for the development of the Indonesian maritime industry.

This agreement will allow for cooperation on joint technical research (ship, offshore, renewable energy, etc.), rule development, as well as the education and training of surveyors. The agreement will also allow for even greater technical and personal exchange between the two societies.

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