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MTCC Africa Virtual Energy Efficiency ConfEx

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MTCC Africa, in collaboration with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), conducted the virtual Energy Efficiency Conference & Exhibition (ConfEx) in March 2021. The ConfEx was held over (4) days in two successive weeks the first on 17th & 18th March 2021 and thereafter on 24th & 25th March 2021. It could not come at a better time as the world is battling the harsh effects of climate change. Decades of tremendous industrial development have led to emission of obnoxious Greenhouse Gases (GHG), ultimately damaging the protective atmosphere that regulate climate in the biosphere.

This has called for urgent attention from specific industry leaders to implement climate change mitigation measures. Essentially, MTCC Africa provided a platform for dialogue amongst industry leaders in shipping sector with a goal to explore how energy efficient technology can be leveraged in reducing GHG emissions as well as improve efficiency in industry operations.

With its mandate in focus MTCC Africa with SAMSA organised the ConfEx to promote energy efficient technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector with the end goal of helping navigate shipping into a low-carbon future.

This ConfEx provided a platform for dialogue for the African shipping sector on uptake of low-carbon technologies. The Event also featured exhibitions from both established & small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneurs with innovations focused on climate mitigation in the maritime industry.

During the opening of the ConfEx, the MTCC Africa host institution, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT), was represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Vitoria Ngumi who highlighted how as an institution JKUAT is contributing to building expertise for uptake of energy efficiency. In 2010, JKUAT launched a new degree in Marine Engineering that to date has delivered top-notch professionals for Kenya’s maritime sector. A case in point is the university’s alumna, Eng. Luke Samba, currently serving as a Port State Control Inspector for the Kenya Maritime Authority and assisting the energy efficiency and GHG expert team at MTCC Africa.

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure – Kenya, Mr. James W. Macharia, E.G.H also gave a speech during the opening of ceremony. He re-iterated support for such platforms that nudge industry players to propose and pursue innovative solutions in reduction of GHG gases.

MTCC Africa was honored with the presence of the International Maritime Organization’s Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, who, during his speech, emphasized his unwavering support for accelerated efforts towards a low-carbon shipping. “Energy transition in shipping industry will require clean alternative fuels, investment in technology and infrastructure to fully decarbonize the sector,” said Kitack Lim. The IMO Secretary General elaborated various measures enacted by IMO to guide the industry towards a carbon neutral future. Through adoption of Marpol Annex VI, IMO is progressively capping emission of GHG gases by setting stringent standards for marine fuels.

The Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime, Mrs Nancy Karigithu, who also chairs the MTCC Africa board, gave a speech during the opening ceremony. The PS noted that the government is in support of capacity building for climate change mitigation in the maritime shipping industry alongside MTCC Africa.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a key partner is planning this the ConfEx, was represented by Mr. Sobantu Tilayi, the Chief Operations Officer SAMSA. The ConfEx was initially scheduled to be hosted in South Africa but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was shifted to a virtual engagement.

Whilst these alternative energy sources are a viable way to reduce emissions from ships, their development and implementation comes at a huge financial cost to the shipping industry. It becomes critical that all stakeholders work together to ensure that such technologies are shared, for the better realization of the initial IMO GHG strategy with a vision of a decarbonized shipping industry by the end of this century.” SAMSA wrote in a statement for promotion of the event.

Exhibitions during the event were split into Offshore and Onshore Energy efficient technologies and operational measures. Eng. Denis Mulwa, a Senior Electrical Engineer at KPA & MTCC Africa Energy Efficiency (EE) Expert, presented on findings of a study conducted by MTCC Africa on the port of Mombasa & Cameroon. He also noted that Kenya and surrounding countries have a solar irradiation of approximately 2200kWh per m2 per year- attributable to their proximity to the equator which has informed KPA’s installation of mini solar grids to utilize the readily available natural asset.

On the last day of the conference, Dr. Edmund Hughes, a Consultant at Green Marine Associates UK, during his presentation observed that the shipping industry needs to recognize that the short-term focus will be on the ship from a technical and operational carbon intensity perspective. In the mid-long term, the focus will then shift to energy transition to cleaner fuels. He further made a reference to a study by IMO on GHG that revealed, 30% of emissions in shipping come from domestic fleet and hence the need to have an increased focus on these ships. He urged that policy makers should consider deployment of new technologies to domestic fleets as part of the national energy strategy. He highlighted that it is also easier to start shipping decarbonization at the national level before seeking cooperation at the global level.

The MTCC Africa Project Head, Project Director as well as MTCC Africa staff and Team of Experts from the consortium members notably Kenya Maritime Authority / Kenya Ports Authority provided technical support in organizing and conducting the Virtual Energy Efficiency ConfEx.

The ConfEx provided a platform for dialogue on Energy Efficient Measures and technology transfer in the maritime shipping industry thus promoting of Technical Co-operation and Transfer of Technology relating to the Improvement of Energy Efficiency of Ships and ship operations.

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