Combined class shows the way forward

28 Jan 2014
DNV GL CEO Maritime Tor Svensen

DNV GL CEO Maritime Tor Svensen

Now that the merger between class societies DNV and GL, resulting in one new, large organisation, DNV GL, normal service is resuming in Hamburg and Høvik, except on a larger scale.

The two societies combined make up the new largest class society, which grew its market share by a total of 27% in 2013. But, says DNV GL CEO-maritime Tor Svensen, market share is not necessarily the best indicator of the overall picture. Offshore, for example, in which the former DNV was particularly strong, represents a small amount of total tonnage, but is enormous in terms of monetary value.

One thing that is continuing unchanged is issuing ‘position paper’ reports. The latest of these, on Alternative Fuels for Shipping, was launched on 27 January in London. We will return to the content of the paper in another item, but speaking at the launch, Mr Svensen gave his view of the immediate future for the new organisation.

If there is one single indicator for shipping, said Mr Svensen, then it is currently China. The shipbuilding situation there, with low prices resulting from yard overcapacity combined with demand for more efficient, emissions-compliant ships, led to 2013 being the third highest year on record for new orders, despite the economic difficulties. Although some sectors, notably offshore, product carriers, ro-ro and small bulk carriers are enjoying good times, other sectors are struggling with oversupply, so another influx of new tonnage is likely to have a bad effect, though nowhere near as sever as the last recession.

This, says Mr Svensen, is a challenge for the industry. The still uncertain economic outlook, changing trade patterns, and overcapacity in both ships and yards are combining with more, and stricter, regulations.

But the biggest challenge is to maintain, or preferably improve, safety levels. Safety is DNV GL’s core business and Mr Svensen would like to see a more holistic and proactive approach aimed at preventing large scale incidents. “Having a big accident is very expensive,” he said. “So safety is all part of the drive to control costs and become more efficient.”

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