The year ahead: What’s in store for 2024?

What lies in store for the commercial marine industry over the next 12 months? Some stakeholders gave Maritime Journal their thoughts on the year ahead.


IMO secretary-general Arsenio Dominguez

It’s the time of the year when we look back in reflection and excitement on the things that we have done, the things that we could have done, and the things that we’re yet to do. Here at IMO, we have a great trajectory of successes. But of course, we can always do more. I don’t need to tell you how vital the shipping industry is for the world. And IMO has done much to support its member states, seafarers, the industry and everyone who lives on the planet. For example, during the Covid pandemic, we supported hundreds of individual seafarers, and we have greatly reduced accidents on ships in comparison to the 1990s.

With a global sulphur cap introduction in 2020, we have increased air quality, and now we have a trajectory for the decarbonisation of the industry. With me as the 10th secretary general, I welcome you to join us in an era of progression of the organisation, one that leads by example and with higher values from inclusion, diversity, and transparency. I look forward to working with you for the years to come into a new and exciting era to make this maritime sector a much better one.

Spokesperson from Siemens-Gamesa

The recently launched European Wind Power Action Plan has the potential to strengthen Europe’s wind industry in 2024. And it comes at a crucial time. Europe has no time to lose in implementing the plan’s measures, such as accelerated permits, greater visibility of volumes, a new auction design, and the indexation of prices to account for inflation. These measures are essential to guarantee the investments that will allow us to meet the ambitious renewable targets and ensure energy sovereignty.

 Workboat Association CEO Kerrie Forster

My foresight for 2024 is going to be a continuation of the challenges faced in 2023 until the end of summer 2024. Globally the market is in serious demand, so much so that crew shortages and product availability are going to once again be a consideration for many and may be the common reason boats are tied up alongside.As we see some key sector supply chain countries facing recession, the impact on what this may cause for key component deliveries (engines, raw materials, specialist equipment) is not yet clearly understood, but this will most likely include further cost increases.

There is a silver lining in that within the last year we have seen the ‘average’ daily charter hire rates rising across the board more substantially than in the previous decade, and I am sure this will continue for a period into the beginning of 2024, but that isn’t necessarily going to help those with a fixed contract commitment already in place.

My message to the sector is speak clearly and honestly with your current and regular charterers, ensure expectations can be delivered and do not over promise unnecessarily. It requires a two-way understanding to make the situation work – this is the same principle in reverse that can be expected from the relationship with your suppliers. But if correctly managed, with the right charterers and trusted supply chain, 2024 is going to be a vessel owner/operators’ market.

By the end of 2024, with the current outlook, we will see a number of new technology vessels on the water and a rise in commitments with shipyards for further futuristic builds in 2025. Regulatory changes, better global understanding, supply chain commitments and technology availability advances are all going to play key roles in this throughout the year. Watch this space – it’s going to be exciting!

Newport Shipping MD Ingmar Loges

Although the CTV market is good and growing, the massive amount of work required to operate CTVs against low margins only allows ‘big players’ to offset costs against a fleet of vessels. The traditional owner-operator is being pushed out of the market. Because of this we see the growth slowing on the supply side, not demand.

The challenges for newcomers to the CTV market are diverse and apply to the entire value chain for design, construction and operation of these vessels.

There are issues with financing as CTVs do not fit in with the rating tools of many banks and financiers, so are often rejected. Limited industry knowledge and indifferent news about the long-term outlook for offshore renewables puts investors off. Price-pressure on electricity prices is pushes down the supply chain and ends up in relatively low margins for the renewables supply chain. This and high interest also makes investments difficult to secure.

Finding willing, capable, and qualified crews for operation is very difficult and hampering the industry with vessels rejecting scopes due to crew shortages, and the chicken-and-egg situation with future fuels is difficult, with a lack of technology and client willingness to pay for it. There is limited to no investment into applicable fuel infrastructure, nor implementation of standards, making all solutions stand-alone.

Our risk-averse clients (energy companies, grid operators and EPCI contractors) are not ready or able to pay for zero-emission or innovative vessels. This makes investing in green vessels more challenging. While screaming for a more solid supply chain, clients at the same time prevent growth of that supply chain by their complex and opaque tendering processes, price pressure, risk transfers to suppliers and most importantly hesitation to support new ideas and suppliers.

In a nutshell, new CTVs are traditionally built on speculation and without long-term contracts in place in the early years. The market would profit from longer-term commitments, also for newcomers.

Andy Page, MD Chartwell Marine

Chartwell Marine is very much looking forward to 2024. Economically there continue to be a lot of moving parts, with anticipated reduction in global inflation, combined with planned reductions in interest rates, hopefully stimulating maritime spending. Coupled with positive technology developments in decarbonisation we’re looking forward to what appears to be a strong year for marine businesses. Of course challenges remain, but it feels there is a bit of momentum now in UK shipbuilding and we look forward to supporting this and our worldwide customers through innovation and collaborating with our international partners. We have several vessel deliveries planned and look forward to the keel laying of our first Midi SOV to bridge the gap between CTVs and SOVs.

Robert Blades, Peters & May commercial manager

Wind market predictions foresee larger wind farm support vessels from Asian shipyards, as forecast by Peters & May. This expectation aligns with the anticipated global offshore wind industry growth – projected to add 380GW of capacity by 2032, with nearly half expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. The forecast underscores the demand for larger vessels to meet the increasing needs of more personnel spending extended periods at sea for offshore farm maintenance, marking an evolution in offshore wind operations.

Mike Enser, marketing manager, Oceanology International

Registration is now open for Oi24 in London in March and we are already seeing a surge in exhibitor and visitor numbers, reaffirming the industry’s hunger for face-to-face connections and the transformative power of new technologies. Our aim as the leading marine science, ocean technology exhibition and conference is to answer this resounding interest by standing out as a beacon for collaboration and innovation. We expect the marine sector to continue embracing energy transition, carbon neutrality, and sustainability goals, so Oi’s role is to help propel the industry towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

Alex Clark, chief commercial officer, Interocean Marine Services

We anticipate 2024 as a year of innovation and resilience within the offshore energy sector.

Under our new leadership team, we have an ambitious growth plan for the year to advance our services, while we continue leveraging cutting-edge technologies that provide comprehensive support services to our clients.

With renewable energy sources becoming more established, particularly in the UK, our focus remains on leading the sector towards sustainable and responsible marine solutions.

Sahil Gandhi, CEO Unique Group

In 2024, the subsea industry brims with the potential of technological advancement. At Unique Group, we envision a year marked by innovation and digitalisation. Autonomous solutions will elevate marine surveys, while AI solutions will propel data analytics and operational efficiency to new heights.

We foresee an industry-wide shift towards sustainability and remote operations. Challenges persist in technology building and regulatory frameworks. These obstacles present opportunities for collaborative solutions. We embrace this dynamic landscape, ready to lead impactful subsea advancements in the year ahead.

RAdm Rex Cox, NSO CEO, UK National Shipbuilding Office

It’s been fantastic to see such an array of commercial vessels being designed, fitted and built in the UK during 2023. As we move into the New Year, I look forward to seeing the immense progress that I know will be achieved by the sector in 2024 as we look to maximise the offshore renewables opportunity, address the skills gap, drive decarbonisation, improve the government procurement process and ensure shipbuilding is considered effectively at the upcoming government spending review. I would like to thank you for engaging with us in 2023, and I’m proud of the support the NSO has been able to provide industry throughout the year, I would only encourage further engagement with us in 2024.
Happy New Year!

Natasha Brown, head of Public Information Service, IMO

2024 will be a year of action. A major focus will be advancing a more sustainable shipping sector by implementing the IMO Strategy to reduce GHG emissions, adopted last year. Seafarer safety and rights remain top concerns as we mark 50 years of the SOLAS Convention. Digitalization and automation will take a leap forward, as new regulations come into force around the maritime single window. Finally, with a new secretary-general in place, we anticipate fresh approaches to transparency, diversity and inclusion.


    This article is shared by courtesy of Maritime Journal

    Back to top button