THE PROMOTION OF INNOVATION IN THE EU MARINE EQUIPMENT SECTOR
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Growing environmental regulation and calls for the maritime industry to go green are driving the demand to develop and apply green innovative technology on ships to deal with problems such as: ballast water pollution; carbon emissions; and emissions that affect air quality. The shipping industry must prepare for a future with lower external transport costs and therefore must embrace the challenges of implementing alternative measures to reduce its impact on the environment. The IMO and the EU are two institutions that are driving legislation to enforce this. Stricter environmental regulation has led to ship-owners exploring various solutions to comply such as adopting innovative emission abatement technology or using alternative fuels. Innovation in the marine equipment sector is needed to achieve this.
The drivers of innovation have been extensively studied but the globalised shipping industry is unique in the way it is impacted by multiple changes in the climate and interactions between people and places across the globe. This study is therefore concerned with discovering the variables that drive green innovation in the marine equipment sector within the European Union (EU).
The study aimed to gain a rich and complex understanding of green innovation in the EU ship equipment sector. It started with an explanatory synthesis of IMO and EU air pollution regulation. Questionnaires were then used to guide the formulation of interview questions for deep and rich data gathering.
The first questionnaire, aimed at ship-owners within the EU, was employed to identify solutions implemented to comply with stricter air regulations. The second set of questionnaires, aimed at equipment manufacturers in Europe, was employed to identify variables that encouraged or restrict green product innovation. Following that, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight people who consisted of marine equipment manufacturers and academics, groups, organisations involved in the promotion of marine technological products.
The use of low sulphur fuel was found to be the most favourable solution for shipowners to implement to comply with stricter air regulations. The use of technological products such as scrubbers, although not as significant, were also found to be implemented among several ship-owners. As the use of scrubbers indicates a demand for technological products, ship-owners were one of the drivers of innovation in equipment manufacturing companies. Other drivers of green product innovation also include: economic benefit; IMO and EU regulations; proof of concept; competition; profit maximisation and government schemes.
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