Ship scrapping volumes across the world will increase in the future. Overcapacity of the cargo ship market and tightening environmental legislation are accelerating the pace.
It is not always going to be profitable to invest in nitrogen and sulphur removing equipment, for example, for older vessels that consume a large amount of fuel. In addition, the expectation that greenhouse gas emissions from maritime traffic will become subject to pricing may put pressure on shipping company decision making.
The majority of the global fleet ends up being sent for scrapping to Asia, to conditions that do not meet western standards for occupational safety and environmental protection. In 2013, the EU issued a Ship Recycling Regulation, which will come into full effect in the next few years. The aim of the regulation is to ensure that ships flying the flag of an EU member state will be dismantled and recycled in the future safely and responsibly. Dismantling will carried be out in shipyards where waste and hazardous materials do not end up in the sea.
"The new regulation and predictions of growing scrapping volumes will encourage the industry to develop a new generation of dismantling and recycling expertise in Europe," says Tekes' Arctic Seas programme manager Piia Moilanen.
"Ships sent to be scrapped can be recycled almost entirely. Typically, as much as 90 per cent of a ship's weight is made up of valuable metals, mainly steel. It is an important raw material for the metal industry. Other materials, such as textiles, plastic and composite materials, can also be effectively re-used or utilised as a source of energy. Material flows arising in ship recycling are substantial, and the creation of this industrial sector supports the EU's circular economy objectives," Moilanen continues.
Elina Vähäheikkilä, Secretary General of Finnish Marine Industries, sees in ship recycling an opportunity to strengthen the offering of the Finnish marine industry. "A natural step to increase competence in lifecycle management is to link ship recycling knowledge to the design, outfitting and construction of new vessels. The scrapping of older ships will also accelerate the development of cleaner and safer marine logistics."
The marine industry's cleantech market is growing and its size will become worth as much as USD 20 billion during the next decade. Finland has a great deal to win in building new and cleaner shipping.
To date, Tekes' Arctic Seas programme (2014-2017) has funded 30 projects to develop responsibility and cleantech solutions for the maritime cluster. The total volume of the projects is EUR 23 million, of which Tekes financial contribution is approximately EUR 12 million. The knock-on effects of "Ship Recycling" projects in renewing the marine industry can be considerable.
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