After a successful 30-year career in shipping, Dr Kirsi Tikka decided to join Ardmore Shipping. In this thought piece, Dr Tikka explains what drew her to Ardmore shipping
I have worked in shipping for more than 30 years. I recently retired from the American Bureau of Shipping after 18 years in various positions in Europe and the US. My most recent role at ABS was as executive vice president, senior maritime advisor. Prior to joining ABS, I was professor of naval architecture at Webb Institute in New York. I have also worked for Chevron Shipping in San Francisco and Wärtsilä Shipyards in Finland. I am a naval architect by training, with a doctorate in naval architecture and offshore engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters’ degree in mechanical engineering and naval architecture from the University of Technology in Helsinki.
Throughout my career I have been involved in environmental aspects of shipping, from the introduction of double-hull tankers to the recent focus on decarbonisation of the shipping industry. It is important to me that I am associated with companies that run quality operations and represent sustainable environmental stewardship. Ardmore Shipping is such a company.
The year has proved that Ardmore Shipping is the great company I thought it to be. Its one team culture is truly reflected in the company, with the board, management, staff and ships’ crews sharing the same values and goals while at the same time staying open to being challenged. Personally, it has been a rewarding experience to look at the industry from the board perspective.
I was fortunate to join the board pre-Covid-19 and participate in meetings in person, which allowed me to get to know the other directors. I was also able to visit the office in Cork, get to know the staff, and learn more about the company in person, which was definitely a highlight. Another highlight was Ardmore’s declaration of its CO2 emissions and the positive reaction it generated.
Ardmore is one of the few truly independent tanker companies. It owns and operates a modern, high-quality, and fuel-efficient fleet of product and chemical tankers. The company is recognised for its industry-leading corporate governance, prudent capital allocation, and quality commercial and technical operations. Ardmore maintains good relationships with commercial and technical partners, and it is actively involved in discussing and promoting solutions to industry challenges.
Ardmore is well positioned for the future
Ardmore’s core strategy is to continue to develop a modern, high-quality fleet of product and chemical tankers, build key long-term commercial relationships and maintain its cost advantage in assets, operations and overheads, while creating synergies and economies of scale as the company grows.
Operating during the pandemic has tested many companies’ ability to carry out operations remotely. Ardmore has demonstrated that its systems are robust and agile for adapting to changing circumstances. This is important, even after the pandemic eases, as the industry will need to comply with new environmental regulations and adapt to increasing digital technology.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility go hand-in-hand. The societal pressure and call for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is building and international shipping is not immune to this pressure. To remain sustainable, the industry will need to reduce its carbon footprint. In the short-term, action is needed to maintain the reductions already achieved as a result of energy efficiency improvements and slow steaming, and to improve towards the IMO 2030 target.
At the same time, accelerated development of zero-carbon fuels and designs is needed. Global technology collaboration beyond shipping is needed to address this challenge. The development and infrastructure will require a large financial investment, and it is difficult to see the source of investment without assigning cost to carbon. This will be a difficult conversation that all stakeholders will need to have.
Ardmore Shipping’s chief operating officer, Mark Cameron, is a panellist of the ’How Covid-19 is transforming tanker operations’ webinar taking place as part of the Tanker Shipping & Trade webinar week.