Stena Bulk’s sustainability outlook for 2022
January 2022

By Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk
January 2022

A few weeks into the new year, it seems fair to say that the industry has finally broadly recognised that decarbonising the global fleet is unavoidable. I have had a chance to reflect on the highs and lows of 2021 during the first days of the new year, understanding that 2022 will be another decisive year for shipping on every level.

First, we must acknowledge that all commentary on sustainability must be tempered through the lens of the perfect storm of factors impacting the commerciality of tanker shipping. We continue to innovate on the sustainability front because we think it is commercially sensible to set ourselves up for excellence and to be able to be responsive to customer demands, but acknowledge that the headwinds we face in terms of overcapacity and supply/demand will be with us for a few months still.

It is because all of these factors are happening at once that tanker operators are being squeezed. But when just a few of them stabilise, the market should be on a stronger trajectory for recovery with at least reasonable levels of fleet utilisation.

We know that the requirement to navigate these factors has posed an existential challenge for some tanker operators. Managing the demands of the future whilst navigating the challenges of today is extremely difficult. But we must try our best to do so if we are to continue to serve our customers and underpin the global economy in the years to come.

At Stena Bulk, we strongly feel that with the ever-growing level of change and multilateral pressure to decarbonise that we will continue to experience in 2022, it pays to be ahead of the curve. Pushing the sustainability and technological boundaries to drive the industry forward is part of Stena Bulk’s DNA, and we will remain committed to this in 2022.

For example, there are many exciting milestones coming up this year in our joint venture with Swiss methanol producer Proman. This partnership is a crucial and extremely exciting part of our roadmap to help us transition to a more sustainable fleet. This year we will launch the first planned state-of-the-art IMOIIMeMAX, carbon neutral-ready, methanol fuelled 49,900 DWT vessels, the Stena Pro Patria. This methanol-fuelled ship will also have the option to run on VLFSO when it comes into service – which is 18 years ahead of Stena Bulk's ambition to become a carbon-neutral vessel operator by 2040.

Another critical milestone for 2022 is to innovate our core fleet through long term charters. In the first half of this year, we will be taking two brand-new eco Medium Range (MR) tankers, called Stena Convoy and Stena Conductor. At 50,000DWT each, they are fitted with scrubbers to ensure compliance with upcoming global emissions regulations. At the same time, they will be nearly 20% more fuel-efficient than the first generation of eco vessels – becoming the most fuel-efficient MR tankers at sea and contributing to our macro efforts to decarbonise our operations.

For the shipping industry to move towards energy transition, leaders in the maritime community need to join forces and work collaboratively to make a difference. At Stena Bulk, we believe in a partnership approach by combining expertise to get ahead of the curve, scale-up innovation, and test and launch the solutions that shipping needs. We remain optimistic about the tanker market and the wider industry’s efforts to decarbonise, and we'll continue to build our presence as a renowned maritime sustainability and future fuels leader.

Gothenburg, January 2022
Erik Hånell, President & CEO at Stena Bulk