DNV GL’s global business director for tankers speaks to Tanker Shipping & Trade about developing the digitalisation framework for tanker owners and operators
Catrine Vestereng is at the sharp end of many tanker owner and operators’ preparations for IMO 2020 marine fuel sulphur-cap changeover. This is currently one of her main activities as the global business director of tankers at DNV GL, responsible for tanker business development through contact with shipyards, shipowners and operators, and service development through liaising with the clients’ customers, typically charterers and traders.
With such a wide remit, Ms Vestereng spends most of her time in the field, presenting papers to tanker owners and operators’ boards of directors. The impression is that her department is very service oriented. IMO 2020 is one of a number of regulatory projects, but providing advice on improving individual vessel performance is important, too.
“We are led by the demands of the owner,” she told Tanker Shipping & Trade. “We develop the rules, which is the framework required by the customer to meet the regulations, and we provide the tools to ensure commercial competitiveness.”
This includes running projects on digitalisation. Last year saw her working intensively with owners looking for newbuildings and running projects with them and the shipyards, to ensure the vessels they were ordering were future proof (meaning that the vessels would comply with upcoming regulations), fit for purpose (capable of carrying the required cargo to the required locations) and cost effective (offering flawless operation with minimum opex and downtime).
Ms Vestereng provided resources to look at fuel options, hybridisation, reducing ballast, increasing cargo capacity, effective cleaning and centralised operations, among others.
She says 2018 was a fantastic year in terms of newbuilding contracts of tankers to DNV GL.
In addition to working with newbuildings, Ms Vestereng co-operated with shipowners on several projects looking at safe, compliant and cost-effective operations.
High on the agenda were ballast water management systems and fuel/scrubber options ahead of IMO 2020. DNV GL is looking beyond 2020, and Ms Vestereng is running several projects focusing on the upcoming CO2 reduction challenge.
“More and more owners as well as charterers are dedicated to become more green while still running a healthy business. This interface becomes even more challenging as we move toward 2030, and we in DNV GL are dedicated to turn every stone in order to support the industry. DNV GL is the classification society with the most experience within alternative fuels used by tankers, such as LNG, LPG and methanol, and we are now utilising this competence for projects beyond these fuels. Even though the fuel mix might take us all the way to an emission-free industry, there are many steps on the road. Logistics, hydrodynamics and machinery are areas that we are working on as well,” she said.
In addition to the more “technical stuff,” Ms Vestereng has been working with customers to establish digital ecosystems and digital solutions to bring added value.
Examples are electronic certificates, smart survey booking, the customer portal (My DNV GL), DATE (direct access to technical experts) support, remote surveys and inspection surveys by drone.
Additional initiatives include running projects on cyber security and the connection to TMSA3, and supporting owners with the new mooring equipment guidelines, MEG4. DNV GL has a flat structure: there are no bosses or roles built on status.
Tasks are assigned on the basis of ability, and leaders are expected to create a willingness among others to join the project and collaborate across teams.
“It is engaging in smart work,” she said, adding that “it is important to have a laugh, too.” For inspiration in the tanker segment, Ms Vestereng cites Paddy Rodgers, the former CEO of Euronav, as a visionary who is outspoken and not afraid to be difficult.
Ms Vestereng is also a presence at the Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference, Awards and Exhibition, which she opened in 2018. DNV GL was chosen by the awards panel as Technical Innovation Award winner in 2018 and was the sponsor of the Tanker Operator of the Year Award, which she presented to Euronav.