Looking back on Stena Bulk’s journey in 2021
November 2021

By Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk

November 2021

As we head towards the end of 2021 and reflect on the highs – and admitted lows of the year, this is a great opportunity to acknowledge some of Stena Bulk’s key milestones this year. I want to extend my gratitude to the whole Stena Bulk team, which has been working tirelessly to continue to build our presence as a renowned maritime sustainability and future fuels leader.

In the new year, we will indeed remain committed to innovation and investment in the alternative marine fuels space, an area in which we are playing a leading role with our methanol-fuelled tankers. The first of which - Stena Pro Patria – will be named and operational in the first half of next year.

Stena Pro Patria is a state-of-the-art IMOIIMeMAX methanol-fuelled 49,900 DWT vessel which is of special significance for us as it is the first of the three methanol-fuelled and carrying vessels to be built together with our partners and friends at Proman Shipping. As I have written before, Pro Patria will be followed by Stena ProMare and Stena Prosperous by the end of 2023.

Stena Pro Patria, Stena ProMare and Stena Prosperous are part of our vision to dramatically accelerate the energy transition in our sector through concrete commitments and tangible action in recognition of the need to alter shipping’s energy sources and move to cleaner fuels. As many in the industry know, we are committed to technological investment and innovation, which of course includes the research and development of energy efficient, new, low carbon fuels, many of which remain in their infancy.

For us, future fuels investment is a progressive and commercially sensible step that future proofs our fleet and our processes and will drive further commercial success for Stena Bulk in the future.

Other milestones in 2021 included joining other industry leaders ahead of COP26 in a worldwide call to action for shipping decarbonisation - the Global Maritime Forum’s Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization - through which we committed to specific targets and deadlines.

Meanwhile, we continue to find new ways to develop and innovate our core fleet through long term time charters. In the summer, we announced that in the first half of 2022, we will take two brand new ultra-modern eco Medium Range (MR) tankers on long-term time charter: Stena Convoy and Stena Conductor. They are 50,000DWT vessels that are being fitted with scrubbers for reduced environmental impact. When delivered, the two ships will be nearly 20% more fuel-efficient than the first generation of eco vessels and will become the most fuel-efficient MR tankers at sea.

I also want to reflect on the announcement we made in Spring that captured the interest and led to many interesting conversations; our InfinityMAX design concept. The InfinityMAX concept, designed to carry both dry and wet cargoes in modular compartments, is built with several new core principles that we think could represent a paradigm shift in cargo transportation. With the right level of matured technologies and a strengthened and sustained collaborative spirit between shipping and tech leaders, we believe that a vessel with InfinityMAX-like qualities could come into service between 2030 and 2035.

In addition to exciting fleet expansion plans and beyond sustainability, 2021 has also seen us join relevant initiatives for the causes that we believe in.

Earlier this year, we became signatories for the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change because we understand that crew wellbeing and crew change are crucial topics for the shipping community to discuss and address. In fact, a big part of the innovation work that our technical teams undertake focuses on finding ways to improve crew wellbeing while onboard.

Importantly, I want to temper all of this by reiterating Stena Bulk’s focus on commercial performance. This year has been a difficult one for tanker shipping, but we are hopeful that we are through the worst of what has been the longest downturn since the 1970s. We keep an eye on market performance and will continue to deliver for our customers. This context makes me even prouder of what we have achieved on the sustainability and technology development side over the last twelve months.

We are excited to continue to share our announcements and relevant and timely insights with the shipping community in 2022, which we hope will become known as the year of recovery for the tanker sector and when we all doubled down to take the next steps on the maritime sustainability journey.

Gothenburg, November 2021
Erik Hånell, President & CEO at Stena Bulk