At a press conference held in advance of the Posidonia 2022 trade fair, DNV Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen celebrated 100 years of the classification society’s activities in Greece, while looking ahead to the possibilities of a decarbonised industry based around increased collaboration and innovation.
The press conference was held at DNV’s Piraeus offices and focused on the emerging challenges facing shipping, the Greek market, and DNV’s longstanding connection to the region and the maritime cluster. Since designating Greece a “home market” in 2015, DNV has focused on expanding and adding new services, pioneering innovation in the region, and building relationships and collaborations across industries in the region.
“One hundred years in the context of Greek history is just the blink of an eye, but I am incredibly proud of the work of all our Greek colleagues and partners, past and present, who have contributed to the great success that is the modern Greek fleet,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime. “On behalf of DNV, I thank the Greek shipping community for the faith they have shown us over the last century. The next 100 years and the challenges it will bring will be defined not by the challenges themselves, but by our ability to overcome them. Our continued collaboration, innovation and joint industry leadership will be key to doing this successfully.”
The DNV fleet in Greece has grown to cover over 19% of the market by GT, approximately 850 Greek owned vessels, while more than 80 ship management companies are ISM certified by DNV in Piraeus. As Greek owners have expanded into new markets, DNV has also been there to support them.
“For more than 100 years, we have been sailing together with the Greek maritime community,” said Ioannis Chiotopoulos, SVP, Regional Manager South-East Europe, Middle East & Africa. “Athens has emerged over that time as one of the great shipping centres of the word and DNV has worked to build lifelong cooperation with companies that have developed into world leaders. We are truly proud to have been able to build our in-class fleet every year and add local centrepieces to our service offerings like the launch of the Gas Centre in Piraeus, the DATE hub, regional ship sector experts, and chief surveyor. All of this is thanks to our valued customers, and the many stakeholders we have worked alongside. This first 100 years is a springboard to the future, and we look forward to more anniversaries and more achievements.”
Fostering innovation in Greece, both home-grown and drawn from DNV’s global network of experts has been a core part of the success of the organisation, Chiotopoulos continued. To build on this, he announced a new collaboration with the National Technical University of Athens, where DNV Hellas will grant scholarships to the top 3 students at the School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering every year. This is in addition to the long-standing tradition of DNV organising free seminars for students of all the Naval Architecture Schools in Greece.
This was vital in an environment where the industry was becoming more complex, he said, and the only way to realise a more sustainable and safer future was through capitalising on technological advances. The R&D and Advisory unit in Piraeus has been responsible for many cutting-edge advances, he noted, particularly the COSSMOS software platform for modelling and simulating complex integrated ship machinery systems.
Chiotopoulos underlined the importance of collaboration across industries, especially in meeting the global challenge of decarbonisation. The very successful implementation of the DNV led Green Shipping Programme in Norway, where the country’s fleet of short sea ferries are being replaced with emission free vessels, creates a huge opportunity, he said. Greece has a similar geography, fleet size and regional needs, and building such ferries could also be facilitated locally, he added. This would give Greece the opportunity not only to decarbonise the fleet on her terms but creating jobs and business locally – saving both time and costs in the implementation. Furthermore, Mr. Chiotopoulos said that DNV was perfectly placed to assist with know-how and expertise on batteries, battery control systems, alternative fuels, and fuel cells, on hand in Norway and around the world, and easily transferrable through the Piraeus office.
The drive to decarbonisation could only be done in combination with the wider uptake of renewable energy in the region, he said. International developers are looking into offshore wind in Greece and are eagerly awaiting the release of the government’s framework agreement to be made public by the end of summer. Floating offshore wind is of particular interest to Greece, allowing it to harvest the strong winds of the Aegean Sea.
Floating solar is another technology that is being closely monitored by investors in the country. Greece’s high solar potential, extended coastline, and the availability of inland water bodies, all meant that the technology could be a vital part of the country’s energy mix. DNV could support this development by providing technical advisory services to all relevant stakeholders, taking advantage of its vast knowledge in both the maritime and energy industry, Chiotopoulos concluded.