Decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation in the maritime sector: a triple threat, or triple opportunity?


The maritime sector plays a crucial role in global trade and transportation, but it also contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

To tackle this issue, the sector faces a triple challenge: decarbonisation, digitalisation, and decentralisation.

In this blog post, we will explore each of these terms and identify some of the hurdles that businesses face in achieving them.


Decarbonisation refers to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). This is particularly important in the maritime sector because it is responsible for a significant amount of global emissions.

In fact, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) estimates that the sector is responsible for approximately 2.5% of global emissions. To decarbonise, businesses in the sector must reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and transition to cleaner forms of energy.

One of the main hurdles that businesses face in decarbonising is the cost of adopting new technology, with the transition to cleaner forms of energy requiring a significant investment in new infrastructure and equipment. This can be particularly challenging for smaller businesses that may not have the resources to make these changes.

Another hurdle is the lack of regulatory guidance. While the IMO has set targets for reducing emissions, there is no clear pathway for how businesses can achieve these targets. This can lead to uncertainty and hesitation in investing in new technology.


Digitalisation refers to the integration and utilisation of digital technologies and data-driven solutions. In the maritime sector, digitalisation can help reduce emissions by improving the efficiency of operations, reducing fuel consumption, and improving safety.

One of the hurdles that businesses face in digitalisation is the integration of different systems. The sector is highly fragmented, with different players using different technologies and operating in different ways. Integrating these systems can be challenging, particularly for smaller businesses that may not have the resources to invest in new technology.

Another hurdle is the lack of standardisation. The sector lacks a common set of standards for digital technologies, which can make it difficult to integrate systems and ensure interoperability.


Decentralisation refers to the generation of energy away from the main distribution network operator (DNO). In the maritime sector, decentralisation can help reduce emissions by enabling localised energy production and distribution.

One of the main hurdles that businesses face in decentralisation is the lack of infrastructure. In many parts of the world, there is limited access to clean energy sources, which can make it difficult to transition away from the DNO and the use of fossil fuels. Additionally, the cost of building new infrastructure can be prohibitively expensive, particularly for smaller businesses.

Another hurdle is the lack of regulatory support. Many governments have been slow to adopt policies that support decentralisation, which can make it difficult for businesses to introduce and invest in new technology.

Introducing iConvert™ our solution for a cleaner tomorrow:

iConvert™ provides a comprehensive turnkey power solution for all vessel types, allowing them to connect to power while alongside in port and offshore:

  • a fully integrated product that offers flexible power solutions for any vessel type.
  • it’s microgrid design is an enhanced solution to complement the existing grid infrastructure.
  • it can be integrated with alternative energy sources, including batteries, renewables, fuel cells, or other power sources.

The benefits of iConvert™ include:

  • flexible vessel connectivity, compliant with relevant shore power standards.
  • cloud-based performance monitoring and 24/7 smart support.
  • installation in any location, whether that be ports, onboard vessels (e.g., container ship) or an offshore power buoy, utilised with any required connection topologies.
  • covers all power ranges and multi-berth requirements, serving all vessel types, from CTV to Cruise.
  • an integrated solution that reduces pollution, emissions, noise, and vibration, allowing vessels to switch off their engines through seamless power transfer through iConvert™ to the selected energy sources.

Ultimately, iConvert™ future proofs your marine assets and supports the drive towards decarbonisation, decentralisation, and digitalisation by ensuring reliable and eco-friendly power for all vessel types.

iConvert™ in action:

iconsys were selected by PD&MS to support Maersk Supply Service on its ‘Stillstrom’ project, the world’s first full-scale offshore power buoy for vessels.

iConvert™, with its cutting-edge technology enables the conversion of offshore wind farm energy to power vessels while connected in the local vicinity. Power Buoy is designed revolutionise the maritime industry. By substituting fossil-based fuels with green electricity, it eliminates substantial idle emissions, driving decarbonisation in the maritime industry.

This fantastic project will provide energy to power an SOV-sized hybrid-electric vessel, with plans for scalability and global deployment alongside wind farms, it’s set to revolutionise offshore operations on a massive scale.


The maritime  sector faces a triple challenge of decarbonisation, digitalisation, and decentralisation. While these challenges may seem daunting, they also present a great opportunity for businesses to innovate and improve their operations. By investing in new technology, businesses can reduce their environmental impact, improve efficiency, and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving sector.

To overcome these hurdles, businesses must work together to develop new standards, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects. Governments also have a crucial role to play in supporting the transition to a more sustainable industry, through policy initiatives, funding, and regulatory guidance.

Ultimately, the maritime sector has the potential to be a leader in the global transition to a more sustainable future. By embracing decarbonisation, digitalisation, and decentralisation, businesses can create a more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly industry.

And we’re here to help you on what can be a long and complex journey, every step of the way. If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with our Head of Marine & Ports, Jordan Tassell, on anything raised in this post, just email or call on +44 (1952) 607300.