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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Is it possible to order a future-proofed ship today?

Listen to the latest edition of the Lloyd’s List’s weekly podcast — your free weekly briefing on the stories shaping shipping

Shipping’s boardrooms are struggling with a more complex, more expensive future where there are too many ‘known unknowns’. Future-proofed flexibility is what shipowners are after as they develop their energy transition strategies, but is that really possible? This week’s edition of the podcast explores the ‘least regrets’ options on the table for shipping when it comes to newbuilding and optimisation investment decisions



SHIPPING is getting increasingly more complex and more expensive. 

On balance, that could be a good thing in that it forces the hand of an industry that has been too cheap for too long and the direction of regulatory travel now at least favours the progressives over the laggards.

But we don’t know the detail. We don’t know what fuel availability or costs looks like. We don’t know the detail of what market-based mechanism or fuel standard will emerge — or even if it will. We don’t know when ships ordered today are realistically going to be filling their duel-fuelled tanks with which fuels at what price. 

And that makes decisions today about newbuildings difficult.

Difficult, but not impossible.

It is possible to make the ‘least worst’ decisions and factor in sufficient flexibility to be reasonably sure that the order you place today is not going to be a stranded asset in the next decade.

And yet large swathes of the industry seem to be using the energy transition as an excuse for inaction.

So this week’s edition of the podcast offers all the hesitant fence sitters out there a much-needed dose of persuasive expertise advocating for fully risk-assessed progressive change.

James Frew is a business consultancy director at Lloyd’s Register who has spent a lot of time advising clients on how to make the decision that comes with least regrets when it comes to newbuilding and optimisation.

In this week’s edition Frew sits down with Lloyd’s List editor Richard Meade to discuss:

  • How newbuilding and retrofit decisions can be optimised with sufficient flexibility to sail through regulatory and fuel uncertainties, while avoiding the risk of stranded assets

  • Why increasing complexities around fuel procurement will not favour the smaller tramp owners

  • Why e-fuels are an inevitable part of shipping’s transition and many ships will have to factor in multiple fuel choices over the coming years


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