Movers & Shakers: Per Martin Tanggaard on sustainability at sea

May 29, 2019
By The Explorer

In June key stakeholders from the global shipping industry will gather in Oslo at Nor-Shipping 2019, one of the world’s largest shipping conferences. Per Martin Tanggaard, head of Nor-Shipping, is determined to make sustainable solutions happen.

Over 30 000 international participants will attend Nor-Shipping from 4–7 June.

“This will be an arena for creating sustainable solutions for the ocean,” says Tanggaard. “Our aim is to gather absolutely everyone involved in shipping, including shipowners and shipbuilders, of course, but also politicians, organisations, entrepreneurs, startups, cargo owners, and ship financing and insurance companies.”


Nor-Shipping Director Per Martin Tanggaard.

Source: Nor-Shipping

For the shipping industry to achieve the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) target of cutting emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, the entire value chain of the industry must collaborate to find solutions, Tanggaard emphasises.

“As I see it, shipowners cannot go it alone. We also need manufacturers and distributors to be part of the green transition,” he says. He calls upon stakeholders to develop sustainable financing models that will make it more attractive to choose green throughout the entire value chain.

Told to find a solution

Tanggaard believes that the shipping industry can meet the challenge to become more sustainable but that the transition will go faster if there is outside pressure. He is pleased to see a growing number of examples here.

“Change occurs when customers and others make stringent demands on the shipping industry. When the companies that are shipping goods around the world say, ‘We are going to cut freight emissions, so you have to find out how.’ Major players like IKEA and Kawasaki are starting to think like this, and I believe their actions will have an impact on the industry in the years ahead,” he says.

This is exactly what happened when the world’s first autonomous, emission-free container ship, Yara Birkeland, was designed. The customer decided it was going to use ground-breaking autonomy technology, and then Yara needed to come up with a solution.

Tanggaard adds that even people who have never set foot on a boat or seen a ship blueprint have an important role to play.

“The solutions often come from people who do not know how to build a ship but know what they want. It is up to the industry to draw upon their knowledge and experience to make it happen,” he says.


Yara Birkeland autonomous emission-free container ship.

Seeking new impulses

To gather the most creative minds in shipping and spark the best ideas, Nor-Shipping is organising Ocean Now, a free two-day ocean solution festival during the Nor-Shipping conference. Ocean Now is a smaller, more informal event specifically designed to attract young, innovative talents.

“It is a very exciting event where we are integrating new forces with existing players to share ideas and create solutions that inspire the industry,” he says.

Ocean Now will host a wide range of interactive sessions, lectures, pitches, competitions, cases and entertainment. The festival is organised in collaboration with Katapult Ocean, an Oslo-based accelerator for ocean impact technology startups. In addition, heavyweights in maritime technology and sustainability will be present, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Tekna – The Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals, and Chooose.


Zero-emission sightseeing boat Future of the Fjords.

Brødrene AA

Pioneers in sustainability

It is no accident that one of the world’s largest trade fairs in shipping is taking place in Norway. Tanggaard believes that there are several reasons why Norway is uniquely positioned to spearhead the green transition in shipping.

“Norway is a leader in all maritime industries, and we have a holistic approach to the sea. In both the public sector and the industry, we always talk about the entire ocean space. This is uniquely Norwegian. We are accustomed to thinking across silos,” he says.

Although major challenges must be surmounted to achieve sustainability, Tanggaard is optimistic.

“Norwegians are very adept at restructuring. Our oil and gas industry has faced major problems in recent years, but instead of whining over it, we have sought out new opportunities. Now we are going to transform sustainability into a business. We are going to find new ways to make money in ocean space, and we will make it sustainable.”

Tanggaard is looking forward to getting started with this year’s Nor-Shipping conference to see which sustainable solutions will emerge.

“It will be exciting to see the first stream of participants enter the doors of the conference,” he says.


Nor-Shipping is expecting 30 000 visitors this year.

Source: Nor-Shipping