Norwegian carrier calls on customers to pay for decarbonization

Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s customers must pay for decarbonization this year if they want to stay on board as customers of the Norwegian car carrier.
Photo: Capital Link / Dnv
Photo: Capital Link / Dnv

Wallenius Wilhelmsen CEO Lasse Kristoffersen believes that major companies need to ”lead the way” and get customers on board with the decarbonization journey. That’s why the Norwegian car carrier has placed firm demands on its customers this year. 

This was the message from Kristoffersen during the Maritime Leaders Summit hosted by Capital Link and DNV in Oslo ahead of the Nor-Shipping conference.

”We’re saying we can’t sit back and wait anymore, we have to get the customers on board. This year, we have told all customers: if you want to do more business with us, you need to start paying for decarbonization,” the chief executive said from stage, adding:

”…and they do.”

Kristoffersen, who is known for being vocal about his ambitious green targets and having a clearly defined green agenda, did not hold back during the panel discussion.

He pointed out that the industry needs to stop blaming inaction on uncertainty in markets and world alike.

”I think rhetoric matters. I think we should stop talking about how difficult it is and how many options there are. I mean, yes, there are uncertainty. But, goddamn, the world is full of uncertainty…this industry is an expert in managing uncertainty,” he said. 

Biofuels and bold decisions

Being a front-runner is currently a challenging task, Kristoffersen admits. But since he does not want to sit idle during the transition, the CEO has clearly stated and current plan to limit emissions as much as possible. 

”The way we see it is that the only option we have on energy transition now is biofuels, as of today. We are using that as much as we can. But that is a limited source,” the chief executive says, adding: 

”So, for us it’s about demonstrating today that we can use biofuel, [and] get the customer to pay for it. And we have said that, by 2027, we will introduce the first zero emission service.”

The zero emission service would be from factory to the end-customer’s door. An end-to-end emission-free service, so to speak. 

”And when we’re in the industry of transporting cars, vehicles and excavators and so on from a factory in China to your door which, in 2027, we have said we want to do that with zero emissions end-to-end. And that really takes a big rally and we can’t wait for the markets to be ready, we need to make some bold decisions. And we do that,” the CEO stated.

When it came to other fuels outside of biofuels, which have many aspects that impacts both biofuels’ green credentials and availability as previously described by ShippingWatch, Kristoffersen points out a clear trajectory.

He expects to be able to phase in methanol, biomethanol, and green methanol within three to five years. However, for ammonia, he expects a longer pathway to markets.

”Unfortunately, the way we see it, ammonia is maybe five to ten years away. I hope I’m wrong,” the executive stated. 

Not so easy

Kristoffersen’s ease with getting customers to pay for decarbonization and thus for more expensive fuels was not an experience shared by everyone in the panel. 

Khalid Alhammad, president of Bahri Ship Management, said that, when it comes to fuels, it depends on the company profile. 

As the VLCCs in his company mainly carry crude for Saudi Aramco and trade on fixed routes, it makes most sense for them to go with dual-fuels that use LNG, as it is readily available in the region. 

The picture is more complicated for chemical tankers, for example, as they ”go everywhere.”

He said that they are also looking into methanol but that ”it is not an easy thing to do” to ”convince the supplier or convince the customers to buy into the fuel.”

”This is something we have been trying for some time. It’s not easy to do, and I commend you for that. It is a major issue. But for the short term, I still believe LNG is the way to go,” Alhammad said. 

(This article was provided by our sister media, ShippingWatch)

Share article

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay ahead of development by receiving our newsletter on the latest sector knowledge.

Newsletter terms

Front page now

Further reading