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Shipping company making dynamic changes

Aki Ojanen - Jun 12, 2016

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Shipping has traditionally been regarded as a slowly changing industry. Through its operations, ESL Shipping has proven this image wrong. The shipping industry is at least as dynamic as any other business.

In order to succeed, a shipping company must be able to change continuously. It must be open to changes in surrounding society and react to the opportunities offered by these changes.

Over the past seven years, ESL Shipping has invested EUR 150 million to improve its operational efficiency, competitiveness and eco-friendliness. Its new direction is based on three major changes: climate change, a carbon-free Helsinki and emphasized environmental responsibility.

From the shipping company's point of view, climate change first seemed like a long-term change – one that may necessary have any impact during our lifetime. However, the change has been speedier than expected and, for example, the Northern Sea Route has opened up for traffic. ESL Shipping has been among the first shipping companies in the region to transport both bulk and project cargo. This would not have been possible without instant reactions and a fleet suitable for the demanding conditions of the Northern Sea Route.

Bioenergy to replace coal transportation

At first, a carbon-free Helsinki also seemed like a major and fairly improbable change. Some ten years ago, ESL Shipping was also characterized as a transporter of coal. However, the volume of coal imported to Finland has halved in only a few years. The shipping company has followed the trend and actively sought more varied cargo and expanded its operations to services.

Our principle is that the shipping company must operate effectively and profitably, also without any coal transportation. We have invested in the transportation of bioenergy and developed more effective transport solutions for our customers. I believe that our fleet will be more extensively used for large bioenergy transportation, both in Finland and in the rest of the Baltic Sea area.

ESL Shipping's environmental responsibility can be seen in the investments the company has made in recent years. We will rise to a whole new level in 2018 when our LNG-fueled large dry bulk cargo vessels, the first of their kind in the world, start operating. Their CO2 emissions per transported ton are less than half of those of current vessels.

Energy efficiency is good for the environment and a financial success factor. With these new vessels, we are able to offer raw material logistics for the steel industry, following the principle of sustainable development, and significantly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of the industry.

Responsibility comprises good business

Environmental and social responsibility is a distinguishing factor which is constantly growing in importance. Our customers value the way we do things: our modern vessels under Finnish ownership and our competent crew are also building the reputation of our customers.

The Board of Directors has also played a key part in the change of ESL Shipping. After the key themes of change were written down, we expressly wanted to add expertise in these specific fields to the Board of Directors. Now, the Board of Directors has the best knowledge in the world in terms of arctic shipping, environmental responsibility, the digitalization of shipping, and services. Managing Director Mikki Koskinen has put all of these into practice through his inspiring example.

In August, people in Helsinki will have the opportunity to visit ESL Shipping's Espa barge, as it will be used as a giant festival arena in Hernesaari. The barge will host beach volleyball and a number of other activities. The 1,000 m2 barge has room for up to 2,000 viewers. This is an innovative example of the shipping company's open-mindedness.

 

Topics: Northern sea route, Bioenergy, Responsibility