Green Shipping: Turning Data Into Meaningful Action

JTJB talks to Terry Seetoh, Head of APAC & Oceania at Adnavem, on how technology can help in the quest to decarbonise maritime transport.

The decarbonisation journey needs a multi-pronged approach – P&I Clubs, ship owners and operators, ports and terminals, charterers, brokers and global governments need to work together to build a sustainable and conducive ecosystem. Legal and regulatory frameworks need to be developed to help shipping players effectively deliver decarbonisation targets.

“The million (or more accurately, billion) dollar decarbonisation question for the industry is what is going to be the fuel for the future. Currently, there are several potentials including ammonia, hydrogen and biofuels,”.

K. Murali Pany“While each has pros and cons, they share one common factor – the huge investment needed to turn them into a commercially viable and available fuel source.

Once this choice is made, then the industry will have a clear direction. However, I doubt the choice can be made without regulatory involvement,” – Murali K. Pany, JTJB’s Managing Partner.

With about 90% of world trade transported by sea, global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s carbon emissions and the sector is under growing pressure to get cleaner.

“As we evaluate our being part of the problem, we need to now consider how we can be part of the solution,” said Adnavem’s Head of APAC & Oceania, Terry Seetoh, with whom we sat down with for discussion on the shipping sector’s green future.

But exploring the myriad of potential solutions is in itself a daunting endeavour that implicates a complex web of risk and challenges beyond cost, operational and logistical challenges and legal and regulatory considerations. It explains, in part, the lack of first movers, particular for small-to-medium size shipping companies.

Seetoh estimates that the sector, particularly in Southeast Asia, is only a quarter way, if not less, towards the destination of net zero, which has a deadline of year 2050.

“We really need to address exactly what drives shipping’s carbon emission and from which aspects can we take some initiative on how to drive greener shipping, how to promote that sense of responsibility across the various stakeholders,” he said.

Terry Seetoh, Head of APAC & Oceania at Adnavem
Terry Seetoh, Head of APAC & Oceania at Adnavem

Part of that assessment means that stakeholders and industry players need to be convinced to accept the cost of sustainability. That acceptance will not only help the sector move towards net zero but also advance and elevate shipping operations, creating a more cost efficient and effective ecosystem.

Once that barrier mindset is overcome, industry players should first turn to the adoption of technology. Data can help unlock and underpin intelligent and conscious decision-making. The technology is already available and is therefore an immediately achievable first step.

Utilising data sets and algorithms, Swedish-based Adnavem offsets human errors. Its technology predictively maps out routes and calculates estimated cargo emissions based on the type of shipping route. If there is a greener alternative path, Adnavem will also make the relevant recommendations.

The crux, though, Seetoh explains, is that Adnavem provides carbon emission information before shipments even set off, which encourages shipping companies to consider and choose greener routes.

“We want to drive that behaviour of self-consciousness,” said Seetoh. “Hopefully through the offering of digital solutions, sustainability becomes top of the mind when they make logistical or crucial business decisions,” he explained.


JTJB has specialised in Maritime and International Trade law practice since its formation in 1988. Today, JTJB’s maritime practice is anchored in Singapore with a network of offices across the region to serve the client’s maritime needs in Singapore and in the region. With its experience, specialist focus and dedicated network of trusted legal professionals in this region, JTJB is well placed to serve the maritime sector, and to handle and serve clients’ legal needs anytime, anywhere.