Tripartite Forum: Shipping Industry prepares for major changes


The shipping industry is on the verge of major changes requiring  strong collaboration between ship builders, ship owners and classification societies, agreed the 70 plus participants of the 2018 Tripartite Forum held in Seoul, South Korea on 11 and 12 October.


Human-Centred Design

In view of the forthcoming significant changes to ship design that are now being envisaged, the Tripartite Forum has recognised the opportunity to promote ship design being more focused around the ship’s crew; a concept known as “human-centred design”. In simple terms, ships, on board systems and fittings should be designed around people/crew, helping them to operate in proper manner with higher efficiency, reducing the risk of human error and reducing the consequences of any errors that may still occur. Tripartite reached a consensus that this could in part  be achieved by incorporating crew feedback into the new building design process.

It was agreed that future work on this subject should also involve manufacturers of marine equipment, systems and installations as well as representatives of the IT, automation and digitalisation industries.

Working to reduce CO2 emissions

Tripartite continues to focus its joint efforts on finding the most efficient solutions to reduce CO2 emissions and to decarbonise shipping though innovation. This objective being a key driver leading to the anticipated changes in ships of the future. The Tripartite Forum agreed that the 2050 IMO targets will require significant changes in hull design, propulsion systems, fuel types and automation, but these will not be enough without an equivalent review and major changes to the current business/commercial models and logistics.

Further developments should strictly be based on a holistic approach. It should assess and understand the GHG intensity of alternative fuels and consider ships as part of a whole logistic chain. Other key elements are port optimisation and port efficiency. A holistic approach should assist in ensuring that further measures on GHG emissions reduction do not introduce market distortion. All these challenges can be assisted in being met by obtaining “good data” that would facilitate professional understanding and identification of optimum  solutions to achieve IMO 2050 target.

Tripartite will work intersessionally to find ways to accelerate both technological and business model innovation, to further improve operational and technical energy efficiency, as well as the transition to zero-carbon fuels and new propulsion systems.

Ship safety to remain paramount

Whatever the changes, Tripartite remains firm that the safety of ships and crew cannot be compromised. Any measures aimed at reducing CO2 emissions must be considered together with any consequential impact on ship safety. Decisions that  lead to underpowered ships are unacceptable – and consequently, it was felt that the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee should at an appropriate point in the future address the minimum power required to keep ships safe under SOLAS. In the meantime IMO should ensure that the minimum power guidelines it has developed remain in place and are fit for purpose.

Sulphur Cap on 1 January 2020

The introduction of the 0.5% Sulphur Cap represents a dramatic change for ship operations. A great challenge is that of preparing ships for use of the range of compliant fuels that are yet to be placed on the market, and ensuring that bunkered fuels which may  be incompatible with each other are not mixed in the same bunker tanks. 2020 Sulphur Cap compliance requires significant planning and challenging decisions to be made in relation to fuel system design. Ship owners, class and ship builders must jointly define minimum standards on layout, volumes and performance of the on board fuel systems.

Ballast Water Management Convention

Noting that the IMO’s Experience Building Phase (EBP) relating to the Ballast Water Management Convention has commenced and that the installation and use of ballast water management systems will increase significantly in 2019, Tripartite recognised the need for the members of the forum to gather, collate and discuss operational feedback relating to the implementation of the Convention in practice. For the purposes of possibly developing future industry guidance or industry feedback to the IMO it was agreed to set up a related joint working group.

About Tripartite

Established in 2002, the Tripartite Forum facilitates ship builders, ship owners and classification societies being able to address complex issues. In order to confront the challenges facing all transportation sectors not only shipping, particularly in  regard to energy efficiency, Tripartite has agreed to invite experts from other transportation sectors and specialists with experience in the energy supply domain to its next meeting. The guiding spirit of the Tripartite discussion are based on a proactive and creative thinking is there, which must be the guiding spirit of Tripartite activities

- ends -

Notes to editors

Contact details for the organisations

Contact: Wei Fan, Secretary General
Tel: +86 18612987871

Contact: Rasmus Nord Jørgensen, Communications Director
Tel: +45 44366836

Contact: Robert Ashdown, IACS Secretary General
Tel: +44 (0)20 7976 0660

Contact: Kostas Gkonis
Tel: +44 (0)20 7977 7030

Contact: Debra Massey (Elaborate Communications)
Tel +44 (0) 1296 682356

Contact: Katherina Stanzel, Managing Director
Tel: +44 (0)20 7977 7014

Contact: Robert Drysdale
Tel: +44 (0)20 7654 1200

Contact: Benoît Loicq
Tel: +32 2 282 03 55


Rasmus Nord Jorgensen
in Copenhagen, DK


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