A Look Back at 2023
As the New Year begins, we look back on the remarkable journey and key developments that have shaped Baseblue and the maritime industry in 2023. From the uptake of biofuels and the enforcement of regulations to carbon insetting and floating wind energy sources, this year has been a dynamic tapestry of innovation, challenges, and pivotal moments.
A year since the merger that formed Baseblue
The past year marked a significant milestone for Baseblue, our first year in operation following the definitive merger of BMS United, Bunkernet, and SBI. Since then, Baseblue offered a wider range of services, including alternative fuels, emissions trading, and digital optimisation.
It has been a fruitful year as we’ve been able to deliver holistic and integrated bunkering and lubricant solutions, alternative fuel options, risk management consulting, quality testing, surveying and unique post-fixture service for a vessel’s end-to-end coverage. We were also able to track a vessel’s progress in real-time thanks to its post-fixture team and digital tools, thus reducing potential issues and waiting time.
The uptake of biofuels
Biofuels and their increasing demand have been at the forefront of our efforts to assist the maritime sector in decarbonisation. Biofuels are seen as an attractive way for shipping companies to reduce their carbon emissions – they are essentially a “drop in” fuel that involves little if any changes to infrastructure or engine performance, and they are available now in a growing number of ports. This means that biofuels can be mixed with similar versions of fossil fuels and used to power existing engines. This is a convenient decarbonisation solution for shipowners as it negates the need for large-scale capital investments which are necessary for other decarbonisation options, such as the retrofitting of engines to dual-fuel capability.
The time-intensive processes involved in cultivating crops and trees for biofuel production, coupled with the scaling challenges faced by emerging fuels like ammonia and hydrogen, make it necessary for them to be a part of a broader strategy to meet decarbonization targets effectively. At Baseblue, we can help you navigate the biofuels landscape and identify the best types of fuel for you.
Understanding the local context
Navigating the dynamic landscape of local markets is crucial for our clients, and this principle lies at the core of Baseblue’s operations. From Thailand and Peru to Italy and Greece, Baseblue boasts a team of 40+ expert traders covering over 2,000 ports globally.
In numerous locations, Baseblue serves as a comprehensive one-stop shop for selling agency services and related products, offering contracts, bunkering services, and water provision solutions. Additionally, in select countries, we facilitate deliveries to all major ports. Leveraging our in-depth understanding of the local supply market, we can secure the best prices and ensure the highest level of service for our customers.
Clients can rely on us to navigate the complexities of bunkering operations and provide seamless solutions tailored to their specific needs.
EU ETS and FuelEU Maritime in 2023
In 2023, the maritime industry faced imminent regulatory shifts with the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and with FuelEU Maritime now fast approaching. Spring 2023 saw the finalisation of a political agreement on FuelEU Maritime, a crucial aspect of the EU’s “Fit for 55” package. This initiative targets increased use of renewable and low-carbon fuels to reduce shipping emissions, aligning with EU climate goals for 2030 and 2050.
The upcoming extension of the EU ETS to cover maritime activities, featuring a two-year phase-in period, requires operators and charterers to surrender a portion of European Union Allowances (EUAs) to account for emissions. This integration into the EU ETS is poised to impact shipping significantly, with EUA prices expected to rise from the current EUR85. A comprehensive understanding of the system is vital for ship operators and charterers navigating this regulatory landscape in pursuit of sustainable maritime practices.
The Baseblue team has been advising clients on how to plan for and implement changes in light of these new regulations throughout the year. We are currently supporting customers in the final preparations for EU ETS and are already helping customers to plan for FuelEU Maritime which will require even more thought from shipowners and operators.
Insetting to reduce carbon footprint
Over the past year, companies started eyeing carbon insetting as a climate solution to reduce their carbon footprints. Carbon insetting differs from carbon offsetting in that carbon emissions are reduced directly within the shipping value chain rather than somewhere outside of and unrelated to the shipping industry.
Right now, alternative fuels are not available in all regions and differ in price. Not all vessels are ready to use these fuels; carbon insetting enables owners and operators to reduce emissions on vessels where it is practical to do so, regardless of location. Spending money on non-shipping-related offsetting projects directs money out of the industry and in no way supports the technological shift required to advance carbon-neutral shipping solutions. A carbon insetting system allows the transfer of environmental benefits, decoupling carbon reduction from specific transport activity and enabling the greening of overall transport activity.
Baseblue assists clients in strategically implementing carbon insetting initiatives tailored to their unique operational contexts. Over the past year, we have guided companies in identifying practical emission reduction opportunities within their shipping value chain.
Floating wind energy sources and the need to reduce the emissions profile
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has accelerated the global shift to renewable energy due to concerns about international energy supplies. Notably, there is a rising interest in wind energy worldwide, specifically in floating offshore wind farms. Unlike their fixed-bottom counterparts, these floating farms can be installed in deeper waters, expanding potential production sites. Experts estimate they could operate in waters over 60 meters deep, revolutionizing the renewable energy landscape.
However, a critical consideration for the wind industry is addressing emissions while installing floating wind farms. Anchoring systems and cable management, major contributors to emissions during this phase, necessitate focused reduction efforts. The International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasizes that emissions during installation can surpass those during maintenance or operation.
At Baseblue, we are committed to helping companies minimise the emissions profile associated with the installation phase of floating offshore wind farms.
Making a positive impact
To promote environmental awareness and recycling, Baseblue supported Memobottle, a company aiming to reshape public attitudes towards single-use water bottle consumption, in its sustainable mission to provide 5 months of clean water to those in need. Baseblue also sponsored the award ceremony and art competition “I Love the Environment, Through the Eyes of Children” in collaboration with the Municipality of Mesa Yeitonia and participated in a beach and seabed cleaning event in Limassol, utilizing advanced ROV technology for efficient cleaning.
In addition, Baseblue’s employees collected essential products and clothing for flood victims in Thessalia, organized by Humanity Greece. Additionally, Baseblue supported the Pink Silhouette Walk organized by Europa Donna Cyprus to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Moreover, committed to promoting diversity inclusion, and gender equality, Baseblue sponsored the WISTA Hellas Anniversary Gala & Awards Ceremony, celebrating women’s accomplishments in the maritime industry.
Looking ahead to 2024, we anticipate even more change in the maritime industry with updates to regulations, technological advancements, and sustainability initiatives. The Baseblue team is here to support our clients in adapting to these changes and succeeding in the ever-changing maritime landscape.