A number of Swedish entities have joined forces in a bid to force shipowners to offer more sustainable or responsible solutions.
Several of the largest buyers of dry cargo shipping in Sweden – EFO, Lantmännen, Stockholm Exergi and Södra – have formed the Responsible Shipping Initiative, RSI. The initiative will look to improve working conditions, health and safety and environmental performance onboard dry cargo ships that traffic the Baltic Sea and North Sea.
With the support of RSI, large Swedish buyers of maritime transport will be able to make inspections in a more efficient way, via common standards and better information sharing.
“RSI will work transparently and efficiently with standardised ship inspections. Instead of leaving it to each transport buyer to perform their own individual inspections, a company can perform an inspection and share the results with other members via a common database,” says Claes Johansson, Director Sustainable Development at the agricultural cooperative Lantmännen.
Together with vessel carriers, RSI aims to raise the level where this is required. The formation of RSI also makes life easier for dry cargo buyers when it comes to requirement specifications in transport agreements with the vessel carrier.
“By specifying the same type of requirements we can put joint pressure on the vessel carriers to live up to the terms and conditions. We believe such cooperation is better for all involved; together we can make a bigger difference than each of us can individually,” says Linda Leifsdotter, Sustainability Specialist at the energy company Stockholm Exergi.
In recent times, problems on contracted vessels have been brought to the attention of the big Swedish dry cargo shipping buyers. These include inadequate employment terms and working conditions, plus insufficient safety onboard.
“Such failings are unfortunately common on contracted vessels. It is important that the vessel carriers that do invest time and resources in safety and good conditions for the personnel onboard should be able to receive acknowledgement for this, which they can use as a selling point on the market,” says Sebastian Tamm, Logistics Manager at EFO, that imports and distributes fuel to energy companies.
RSI aims to encourage more dry cargo shipping buyers who want to work towards more responsible maritime transport to join. The four members behind the initiative make up an important foundation and starting point for this work.
“As major transportation players, we have a duty to ensure that transport activities are carried out responsibly. We are very happy that this partnership is now underway and hope that our joint efforts will lead to both short-term and long-term results,” says Anders Ripström, Purchasing Manager for Logistics and Transport at the forestry company Södra.