Owners need to focus on improving safety and reducing their environmental footprint through effective change
These were some of the key messages in European Tugowners Association (ETA) chairman Kimmo Lehto’s message to members at the end of 2020.
“Safety remains at the heart of our business,” said Mr Lehto. “Our job is to ensure the assets of shipping companies and ports are protected, and ships are assisted safely and efficiently in European ports.”
He also acknowledged tug owners are an important part of the maritime industry’s drive to lower emissions by providing cleaner operations.
“As part of the maritime cluster, it is also our responsibility to ensure we are doing our part to reach the ambitious [IMO] 2050 zero emissions target,” said Mr Lehto. “Indeed, protection and safety of the environment is also part of our responsibility.”
These requirements come as tug owners continue to operate in tough markets impacted by Covid-19.
“We are living in challenging times, some of which are unprecedented,” said Mr Lehto. “Needless to say, 2020 will go down in modern history as the year we never expected, with massive changes in our everyday life and in our way of working.”
Coronavirus had a tremendous impact on global and regional economies, trade volumes, passenger shipping, offshore energy and port operations.
“As trade went down, the number of port calls have decreased, especially in cruise ports,” said Mr Lehto.
“Covid-19 overshadowed 2020 and we are still facing challenges, but as the vaccinations have started in European countries, we are slowly moving towards the new normal,” he said.
“It is still too early to say what has changed permanently, but our sector has remained resilient and has been an essential part of the logistics chain that supplied food and other goods to and from Europe in 2020.”
Mr Lehto expects there will be business opportunities for European tug owners in 2021.
“With every challenging period comes a period of great opportunity,” he said. “It is up to us to seize the opportunity and to learn from the lessons of 2020, to improve our businesses accordingly and to adapt swiftly and effectively to changing business opportunities.”
ETA will continue to support its members in 2021 through collaboration with other organisations and representation.
“From our end, the board continues to assist our members holistically, ensuring industry standards are well maintained,” said Mr Lehto. “ETA will continue working together with the European policymakers and with the key stakeholders such as ports and pilots, to keep our members up to date regarding the developments that might affect our industry.”
ETA plans to hold its annual general meeting in August in Turku, Finland.
Riviera made its predictions on the five key trends that will impact tug design, construction and operation of towage services in 2021 at the end of December 2020
Towage trends and operational challenges will be discussed during Riviera’s virtual conferences and webinars in 2021 - use this link to view details and register for these events