The Hong Kong ESG Reporting Awards (HERA) is a not-for-profit initiative, aiming to build trust among stakeholders and escalate the ESG reporting standards in Hong Kong, Macau, and Greater China. The HERA 2020 Forum cum Awards Presentation Ceremony was successfully held on 8th December 2020; ESGN is honoured to have invited Mr. Mark Hardy, Director of Corporate Affairs from Pacific Basin Shipping (HK) Ltd, winner of the Commendation for Excellence in Positive Social Impact, to share their experience with and future plans on promoting corporate sustainability.
Q: Congratulations on winning at HERA 2020. Please share your thoughts and what does that mean to the company?
A: It is an honour to have won HERA’s award for Excellence in Social Positive Impact. We are pleased to be acknowledged for our commitment to high health and safety standards both across our fleet of ships and onshore, as well as for our community initiatives designed to create positive long-term social impact.
Q: Your company has won consecutively on HERA, please share with us one thing you want to highlight in your ESG that makes you win the award, and how challenges have been overcome.
A: 2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for many industries, but especially so for international shipping. The inability to change crews has triggered a humanitarian crisis during this Covid period when governments’ measures and restrictions have made it often impossible to get seafarers off their ships and repatriated.
Our fleet management team continues to work very hard to support our seafarers on our 116 owned ships. We communicate closely with our crews, keeping them motivated and helping to facilitate their virtual connection with their families back home. Crew change issues have generally improved, although the situation remains serious and very challenging, in particular in some parts of the world where governments are reinforcing measures to mitigate new waves of Covid infection.
We thank our seafarers for their patience and assure them that we value their tremendous contributions and will continue to go the extra mile to offer them the best chance of disembarkation and repatriation after many months being stuck on board.
Q: What are your thoughts and company’s future plans in promoting corporate sustainability within your industry?
A: Decarbonisation is the hot topic in the shipping industry. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set ambitious targets to halve GHG emission from ships by 2050, compared to 2008, and reduce carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008.
Pacific Basin fully supports the IMO’s ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Although there remains a lot of uncertainty on how the industry will decarbonise and what specific regulations will come into effect, the direction of decarbonisation of the industry is clear. We continue to actively monitor, assess and support the development of evolving technologies and initiatives, including new low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies with a view to adopting those which eventually prove effective and commercially viable.
While waiting real new technology to arrive, we will not order newbuildings with fuel oil engines. We will continue to pursue initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of our existing fleet, including: modernising our fleet by gradually trading up to younger, larger, more energy-efficient second-hand ships; adopting latest energy efficiency technologies to improve engine, hull and propeller performance; and adopting operational measures to improve carbon efficiency of our fleet.
Looking ahead, we are confident about our journey towards decarbonisation. Pacific Basin is well-equipped with an excellent team, including a world-class fleet management division and specialised ESG and optimisation staff, as well as good financial health to adapt and cope both practically and financially with compliance requirements and new technology, while always putting our seafarers’ safety first.