As the world’s population grows, demand for food, water and natural resources like oil, gas and minerals does, too. The seas provide a largely untapped resource that is simply waiting to be harvested. The Marine & Offshore industry is bringing innovation, plus a renewed environmental focus, to that quest.


Global challenges abound. The world’s population is growing, industrialization is expanding and competition for limited energy and mineral resources is increasing. In many locations, fresh water and adequate food are in short supply, and everywhere the world hungers for a clean environment.

Despite difficult economic times during the recent global recession, the Marine & Offshore (M&O) industry – with its expertise in shipbuilding, fishing, global transport, marine mining, and offshore energy production – is uniquely positioned to help the world tap its most underutilized and promising resource: the 70% of the planet that lies under the sea. (The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that 95% of the seabed remains unexplored.)

The bountiful sea

The shipping business transports 90% of the world’s food products and energy and “has raised the standard of living virtually everywhere by shuttling products and commodities from where they’re most efficiently produced to where they’re most profitably consumed,” said Lori Ann LaRocco in her new book, Dynasties of the Sea: The Shipowners and Financiers Who Expanded the Era of Free Trade.

But the sea has value well beyond shipping, value that can contribute to solving many of the world’s challenges while creating significant economic returns. “We all depend on the oceans, the planet’s last great wilderness, for our very existence,” said Thilo Bode, former international executive director of Greenpeace. Writer Clyde W. Burleson agrees. “The seas are our future,” Burleson wrote in his book Deep Challenge: Our Quest for Energy Beneath the Sea. “The mineral riches lying beneath the waves are incalculable.”

The Shipping business transports 90% of the worlds’s food products and energy

Around the globe, marine and offshore interests are rising to the challenge to help realize the sea’s potential, with safer ships and offshore technologies that are cleaner, greener, and more efficient in delivering the world’s cargo, exploring the ocean floor, and harvesting the sea’s bounty. The M&O industry also is addressing the world’s need for new sources of energy, from safer offshore drilling technologies to innovative new processes of energy production.

Greener and cleaner

To make shipping more sustainable, changes in safety and environmental regulations, including proposals to reduce sulfur and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from ships, will require modifications to existing vessels and usher in a new breed of vessel designed with the environment in mind. One impressive example is the Danish shipbuilder Maersk’s new “Triple-E” container vessel.

The line’s name comes from the three main purposes behind its creation — economy of scale, energy efficiency and environmental improvements. The ships will set a new industry benchmark for size and fuel efficiency; at 400 meters long, 59 meters wide and 73 meters high, the Triple-E is the largest vessel of any type on the water today. Its 18,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) capacity is 16% greater (an increase of 2,500 containers) than today’s largest container vessel, the Emma Maersk.

Despite its size the Triple-E, which is being built by Korean shipyard Daewoo, is designed to be more efficient to operate as well. Maersk says the monstrous cargo vessel will produce 20% less CO2 per container moved compared to its Emma Maersk and 50% less than the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade lane. In addition, the ship will consume approximately 35% less fuel per container than the 13,100 TEU vessels set to be delivered in the next few years.

“We believe the Triple-E ships, with their record capacity and energy efficiency, will enable us to deliver on the commercial and environmental expectations of our customers and also give us a significant competitive advantage in the market,” said Eivind Kolding, CEO of Maersk Line.

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