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Top 10 technology leaders 2023

From software companies to autonomous ships and engine manufactures to the world’s richest man, these are the individuals and organisations providing the state-of-the-art tech and innovation that will shape shipping’s future

MAN Energy Solutions’ Dr Uwe Lauber is named this year’s top technology talent, as the engine manufacturer rises to the challenge of decarbonising the fleet, and then some

01 / Uwe Lauber, MAN Energy Solutions

After years of plodding on with incremental efficiency innovations, shipping’s engine manufacturers were handed a generational challenge to decarbonise the global fleet.

In the frenetic pace of development that has followed, MAN Energy Solutions has raced ahead, ploughing millions of dollars into a programme that has started to show exciting results in 2023.

Under the leadership of chief executive Dr Uwe Lauber, MAN plans to deliver its first ammonia engine in late 2024.

The pace of development is too often taken for granted, but Lauber and his team have pioneered cutting-edge research, kick-started urgent safety standards and created genuinely collaborative programmes across the industry.

MAN’s influencer status in 2023’s list is quite an achievement.


Håkan Agnevall, Wärtsilä

02 / Håkan Agnevall, Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä has always prided itself on its innovations, but in recent years it has struggled to convince a reluctant industry to keep up with its pace of change.

Ever adaptable, president and chief executive Håkan Agnevall has moved to restructure, consolidate and adapt.

The company’s portfolio of marine technology has evolved from power and propulsion systems to liquid and gas handling, and voyage and fleet optimisation.

Among the many new initiatives being pioneered is ‘decarbonisation modelling’, by which a digital model of a vessel is created based on measured real-life data.

The model enables technology solutions to be simulated and assessed to indicate their effect on emissions profiling, the impact on the ship’s Carbon Intensity Indicator rating, and Return on Investment calculations.

Looking ahead, the company sees expansion of engine-battery hybrid marine projects, where it currently has a 26% market share, as a growth driver. Further growth is also being pinned on “hybridisation”, which is seen as a key enabler for marine decarbonisation.

Wärtsilä aims to be carbon-neutral in its own operations by 2030.


Lisa Edvardsen Haugan, Kongsberg Maritime

03 / Lisa Edvardsen Haugan, Kongsberg Maritime

The technology challenges facing the shipping industry are clear enough, but Kongsberg Maritime president Lisa Edvardsen Haugan firmly believes that the answers lie in finding the right skillsets for the future.

That means attracting the right talent and a fresh perspective from more a diverse intake of people with different backgrounds.

A year into her role, the approach seems to be working.

Norway-based Kongsberg is developing technologies for remote-controlled and autonomous operations, alongside low- and zero-emissions solutions for the commercial shipping, offshore, and defence sectors.

The company unveiled next-generation designs for container feederships, platform supply vessels and tankers, and upgraded the propulsion systems on Italian ro-pax ferries, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes per year across the fleet.

Kongsberg’s work on hybrid tankers being built in China for Danish operator Tärntank won the 2023 Nor-Shipping Next Generation Ship Award.

The ships will reduce carbon emissions using a combination of clean technologies. The wind-assisted technology alone is expected to reduce emissions by up to 19%.

The new vessels are to have an Energy Efficiency Design Index close to 40% below the 2025 Phase 3 requirements.


Martin Taylor, OneOcean

04 / Martin Taylor, LR OneOcean

The quiet but significant growth of Lloyd’s Register’s successive purchases has seen the class society build a dominant digital offering via its growing string of acquisitions including ChartCo, Marinepress, C-Map, Greensteam and Hanseaticsoft, all now under the banner of LR OneOcean, led by chief executive Martin Taylor.

The digital tech sector has been going through a rapid period of mergers and acquisitions in 2023 as companies seek to expand beyond niche start-up services to a wider range of data-led optimisation services.

Scale is increasingly becoming an important factor and OneOcean’s rapidly growing suite of offerings is more than just about the innovative nature of the underlying tech. Scale equals investment pulling power and LR is investing heavily in software solutions to help them grow quicker and provide more capability.


Soren Meyer, ZeroNorth

05 / Søren Meyer, ZeroNorth

The merged forces of ZeroNorth, which began in 2020 as a spin-off from Maersk Tankers and Alpha Ori, makes commercial sense in a rapidly consolidating maritime tech sector

Announcing the deal in October 2023, ZeroNorth chief executive Søren Meyer said the merged entity, which will operate under the ZeroNorth brand, will create “a clear market leader”.

For ZeroNorth — which hired Mike Konstantinidis, the former chief executive of Alpha Ori’s competitor Metis, earlier in 2023 to lead the development of high-frequency sensor-based data collection and processing capabilities — the merger offers a handy shortcut into a space it has been developing for some time.

For Alpha Ori — which has grown rapidly, with sizeable investments from blue-chip shipping giants including Oldendorff — the centralised and scaled operation makes sense after its founder Rajesh Unni announced he was stepping back from the day-to-day management in August 2023.

According to Meyer, all that scale creates a “data flywheel” effect. “It is allowing faster, more effective collaboration,” he explained.

“We are now combining technologists, data scientists and data engineers together with people like metrologists, captains, operators and seafarers, and having the knowledge of the industry combined with technology is a powerful tool.

“What really gets me excited is that we now have the technology platform that can make a change — and make a real change — for the industry.”


Ali Riaz, OrbitMI

06 / Ali Riaz, OrbitMI

The New York-based maritime software company OrbitMI signed a strategic partnership with French class society Bureau Veritas in September 2023.

The deal involved a substantial sum of money for a solid stake and a seat on the board, but not enough to be regarded as a takeover.

Chief executive Ali Riaz had already signed agreements with maritime technology partners including Sedna, Nautilus Labs, DTN and Veson, but this was the most far-reaching collaboration.

Orbit offers a range of intelligence and analytics solutions, including compliance, chartering, vessel-tracking and vessel-performance monitoring.

Its software as a service offering, launched in 2017, requires no hardware or software installations. This enables companies to drive digital transformation without disrupting existing operations.


Tom Erixon, Alfa Laval

07 / Tom Erixon, Alfa Laval

President and chief executive Tom Erixon is determined to get Swedish maritime equipment company Alfa Laval carbon-neutral by 2030.

Getting his Scope 1 and 2 emissions to hit that deadline is aggressive, but getting the Scope 3 elements — i.e. his customers and suppliers — is going to require a step change in the collaborative efforts that everyone talks about, but few genuinely manage.

Alfa Laval was previously known for its scrubber business, but having bought weather intelligence shipping software supplier StormGeo in 2021, it has been rapidly adding to its decarbonising toolbox and accelerating growth of its digital services.

The company is building its presence in wind propulsion, hydrogen, air lubrication and routeing technologies and it is having to assimilate those changes at pace.

Speaking at an event Alfa Laval hosted in 2023, Erixon said previous product development cycles of five to seven years now had to be cut in half to be relevant for emissions-reduction targets.


Dominik Schneiter, WinGD

08 / Dominik Schneiter, WinGD

Dominik Schneiter took over as chief executive of the China-controlled, Switzerland-headquartered engine builder WinGD from Klaus Heim in July 2023 and he has not wasted any time in accelerating the race for zero-carbon supremacy.

In December 2023, WinGD signed a four-way agreement to underwrite the first ammonia engines set to be built in China. They will be installed on a series of 210,00 bulk carriers for Belgium owner CMB.Tech in 2025 and 2026.

Schneiter is formerly a vice-president of research and development and his valuable experience of working in China has helped him secure a series of agreements that have positioned the company as a well-respected partner on several key projects.

The company has been working alongside shipowners and shipyards, and anticipated delivery to gas carriers and bulk carriers in late 2024/early 2025.

WinGD had already been working with Chinese engine manufacturer CSSC CMD to develop methanol-fuelled engines for four Cosco containerships — three of which are methanol-ready, while the fourth will be the first to have methanol engines installed from the outset.

Schneiter is also the current chairman of CIMAC, the non-profit Association of the Internal Combustion Machinery Industry.


Elon Musk, Starink09 / Elon Musk, Starlink

Elon Musk’s mega-constellation of satellites, designed to provide off-grid high-bandwidth internet access, has been a disruptive force in many sectors and a bone of contention with both the Chinese and Russian leadership. However, in shipping, the SpaceX project is proving to be very popular indeed.

In the past 18 months, Starlink has managed to sign up an impressive roster of large customers, including BW, MOL and, most recently, Maersk.

Maersk announced in October 2023 that its 330 operated container vessels would have Starlink installed, enabling high-speed internet access at more than 200 Mbps. The service is a leap forward in terms of internet speed and latency, they said.

The low-cost, high-speed service has won fans and worried competitors, who will be watching carefully to see whether Musk’s stardust is going to cause serious problems for them in 2024.


Saskia Mureau, Port of Rotterdam Authority

10 / Saskia Mureau, Port of Rotterdam Authority

“Does everyone in this audience know what an API is?” asked Rotterdam port’s digital director Saskia Mureau in a room filled with the industry’s leading chief executives earlier in 2023.

There was a shuffling in the audience seats as men of a certain age not noted for their technical expertise looked away nervously, hoping not to be called out.

This annual list has failed to include much in the way of port technology representation in recent years, so while Rotterdam alone may look anomalous on this roster, Mureau is here by way of an acknowledgement that senior executives, as well as digital/operational people, need to better understand data sharing — not just as a concept, but how to make it work.

The pioneering work that Mureau is doing by way of everything from basic data standardisation and collaboration to the development of green and digital corridors is, of course, happening across the industry.

However, her position on the Top 100 list in 2023 should be taken as a strong indicator that digitalisation done right can accelerate sustainability — and everyone should be paying attention to the details.


The Top 10 technology leaders list is compiled by the Lloyd’s List editorial team and considers people and companies that are driving real digital change across the maritime industries


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