As the Caribbean’s leading international maritime centre, Cayman has its finger on the pulse of the shipping industry. These environmental-focused industry trends are two of the most important factors facing shipping businesses today.
Harnessing Renewable Energy
Fuel efficiency is a huge concern in the shipping industry not only because it has such a huge impact on operational expenses but also because it has a substantial impact on the environment. With international trade routes coming under a microscope due to global concern over air and ocean pollution, the shipping industry is more concerned than ever with finding actionable solutions to energy efficiency issues.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydraulic power are expected to become increasingly important in research, development and execution for the shipping industry in the coming years. The Caymanian government is already focusing on ways to incorporate wind and solar energy into the on-land infrastructure, making the islands a smart place for shipping industry businesses to make long-term investments when focusing on fuel-efficient places to do business in the future.
Hull biofouling is an economic concern in shipping due to the myriad ways it impacts the bottom line. From gas-guzzling drag to added maintenance activities, the presence of hitchhiking organisms like mussels and barnacles is a problem from both a financial and an environmental standpoint. The environmental impact comes not only from the increased proportion of fuel usage caused by the drag associated with these organisms but also from the intraocean transfer of invasive aquatic species (IAS) in a process known as biofouling. These invasive species can destroy established ecosystems with stunning speed, and they’re being transferred all over the world by shipping carriers.
Antifouling measures such as the application of special hull coatings that make adhesion impossible are increasingly important in the shipping industry. Further research may be necessary to find a good solution to this problem, meaning this green trend should be an exciting and important area to watch in the coming years.