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Tips offered for marine economy development
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Claude Smadja

Han Ximin

 THE 2019 International Marine Economy Cooperation and Development Forum, a highlight of the 2019 Marine Economy Expo, will be held in the city tomorrow and Wednesday.

 Organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shenzhen Committee, the forum brings together more than 70 leaders in the marine economy from the business and academic world along with public personalities at the vanguard of thinking on the prospects for the marine economy.

 More than 400 business participants closely related to the marine economy will participate in in-depth discussions on how to promote the sustainable development of the global marine economy as well as the growing role of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and advise China and Shenzhen on how to build a world-class marine center city.

 The guests include Paul Holthus, founding president & CEO of World Ocean Council, Kenneth Racombo, the principal secretary for Blue Economy in the Office of the Vice President, Government of the Seychelles, Carl-Christian Schmidt, chair of the Nordic Marine Think Tank in Denmark, Torsten Thiele, an academic of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Germany, and James Standerwick, CEO of Maritime London Ltd.

 The forum will explore new opportunities created in the domain of the ocean economy by technological developments, while highlighting the sustainability challenges involved in the development of this sector and identifying ways to address these challenges.

 Claude Smadja, president of Smadja & Smadja Strategic Advisory Inc. and managing director of the World Economic Forum from 1995 to 2001, said the marine economy has been under the pressure of tremendous changes with respect to the hot issue of the sustainability of resources and application of technologies.

 “Shenzhen is well placed to become a global platform for the development of the marine economy, because it is a technology hotbed and has a tremendous number of high-tech companies involved in technologies related to the marine economy,” said Smadja in an interview prior to the opening of the forum.

 “The marine economy is esteemed to become another pillar of economic growth for Shenzhen and for the whole Chinese economy,” said Smadja.

 “I think there are three very important priorities that companies involved in the marine economy should pursue, especially in China. One is to increase the interaction between Chinese and foreign companies. The interaction could become a win-win for foreign and Chinese companies that could develop the sector at the global level. The second priority is for the Chinese companies to demonstrate by their actions that they are at the forefront to protect the health of the ocean and that they are at the forefront on the issue of sustainability,” said Smadja. “The third priority is to integrate as fast as possible the new technologies in all the sectors relating to the marine economy because as we said before, the fast introduction of these technologies will help the fight against climate change and the fight for the health of the ocean. They will increase productivity, efficiency and allow all the sectors of marine economy to do a better job, in a much more profitable and sustainable way.”

Digital technologies revolutionize marine industry

Stefan Boudestein

 Varuna Marine Services business development manager, the Netherlands

 THE advancement of digital technologies such as IoT, blockchain and cloud computing has tremendous potential for revolutionizing the shipping industry. The transition has already started with major stakeholders running pilot projects in a variety of its domains. Varuna Marine Services strongly believes that the uptake of new technologies will hold the key to driving growth and efficiency in global shipping.

 We are working on an innovative platform called CyberSmart, which helps its users to avail full digital solutions in the audit process, from planning till reporting. Additionally it provides insights through data analytics that will be key to maritime policy formulation in the years to come.

 Shenzhen is leading by example when it comes to facilitating regional and global trade. As global trade rises, Shenzhen will have to keep pace with the changing trade landscape to remain competitive and serve the needs of the digital trade ecosystem. Providing national and international companies fertile ground to compete for the betterment of existing processes will go a long way toward driving growth and efficiency. This requires a broad and long-term vision, which seems to be at the core of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Sanjeev Namath

 Chief business officer of Alpha Ori Technologies Pte. Ltd., Singapore

 The maritime sector is very conservative and slow to change. We need every eco-system stakeholder to realize that digitalization is the way forward.

 The uptrend in ship-to-shore connectivity along with mature cloud computing and AI technologies will encourage the adoption of SMARTShip solutions.

 An analogy can be drawn in our own personal life where the mobile bandwidth connectivity (from 2G, 3G to 4G and soon 5G) and smart technologies have enabled the adoption of smartphones. This has completely transformed our lifestyle in the past 10 years and smartphones have become essential in our day-to-day life. The maritime sector is at a similar point as 10 years ago when people were still figuring out the value of buying a smartphone.

 Digitalization, followed by cloud computing and the use of AI applications, will transform the way we operate ships and also change the way we do business.

 When you compare the maritime sector with the terrestrial sector — at least in mainstream ship operations — there is a huge gap in technology adoption. The marine economy has been very conservative and price sensitive.

 One of the critical issues to address here is the current business model, which does not encourage transparency. Furthermore, the lack of transparency in a ship’s operations has resulted in a lot of unintended losses for stakeholders across the value chain.

 Our SMARTShip solution provides a good practical solution by bringing this transparency.

Ideas from attendees

Charles Green

 Professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University, the U.S.

 THE industrial production of marine microalgae can play a pivotal role in reversing climate change while simultaneously addressing the global challenges of food, energy and water security. It has the potential to supply much of the protein necessary to feed a global population approaching 10 billion by mid-century. By decreasing fossil carbon emissions and reforesting conserved cropland, microalgae can account for a one-third reduction in global CO2 emissions each year by 2040.

 The above vision can only be achieved with significant efforts to develop new technologies for the direct air capture of CO2 and utilization in algae-based nutritional and bio-petroleum products; wastewater treatment and the recycling of nutrients for marine algal production; new, more cost-effective methods for producing animal feeds, aqua feeds and human nutritional products from marine algae.

 The Greater Bay Area has an opportunity to lead the world in developing all of the above game-changing technologies, and Shenzhen can be at the center of it.

Antoine Peiffer

 Senior manager of development and supply chain, Principle Power Inc., France

 The current offshore wind industry is booming in China overall. According to projections made by multiple independent institutions, China could have nearly half of the global offshore wind market by 2030.

 We believe floating wind could be a game-changer for China, even if the local industry is currently focused on conventional bottom-fixed foundations. Floating technology removes limitations of water depth, increases sitting flexibility, is more suitable to seabed conditions along the Chinese coastline and lowers requirements on the local supply chain.

 It is our understanding that Guangdong will soon identify offshore wind sites well suited for floating wind foundations in water depths exceeding 40 meters. We are quite excited about the opportunity to introduce our floating wind technology to the region.