Emanuele Grimaldi

at the

XXIV Grimaldi Group EuroMed Convention

Nicola Capuzzo for Ferry Shipping News

At the 24rd edition of the annual Grimaldi Group EuroMed Convention held in Valencia this year, CEO Emanuele Grimaldi gave the traditional overview of the company’s numbers and business trends. The key issue of the event was ‘energy efficiency’.

Below are some of the most important topics and quotes from the seasoned shipowner, taken from his presentation and press conference.

Environmental issue

“To put facts into frame, we can say we live in an era where shipowners are called to tackle the environmental issue like never before. Fortunately, the demand for change from worldwide public opinion has been reciprocated by responsible operators.

The task is enormous, especially in a very capital-intensive industry such as shipping.”

“Knowing the trend and understanding well that after crisis people will look for a new normal, not for the old one, responsible shipowners are studying the changes and doing their homework for a turnaround. Launching cleaner and less consuming transportations is also a way for shipowner to abate energy costs, so it makes perfectly sense also under an economical point of view.”

“At Grimaldi we decided to abide to these facts, and despite the Covid emergency, we had two years of intense environmental work in our group. We believe this way to position ourselves, in environmental field, on the front line of our shipping category, taking onboard the best technologies available to set new environmental standards in our sector, developing technologies as frontrunners, to the benefit and heritage of the whole community.

A concrete witnessing of the effort paid by our Group is surfacing in public debate. For instance, Ferry Shipping Summit awarded our GG5G series as Ro-Ro of the year 2021.”

Second side of the environmental challenge

“The second side of the environmental challenge concerns the quantity and volumes of intervention. Apart from the R&D, which is extremely important, the implementation of chosen technologies can be even more cumbersome and exigent, requiring extensive investments. Indeed, green R&D means nothing to the planet until you do not invest for applying it. That’s why we massively ordered retrofits to existing ships with silicon coating applications, exhaust gas cleaning systems, lengthenings, accounting for 220 upgrade interventions in 2 years. For example, 115 exhaust gas cleaning systems were mounted on 72 ships, reducing factory-to-air Co2 emissions by 10% and sulphur emissions by 87%.”

“In 2 years, we mounted also propulsion optimization devices on 14 ships, silicon coating on 23 ships and so forth. To talk in money, retrofit expense climbed up to 600 million euro, whereby the half was spent in mounting exhaust gas cleaning systems, and the other half equally divided in jumboizing, in propellers improvements, in ballast water treatment and in other environmental upgrade systems.”

Newbuildings program

“All along with retrofits, the Group decided few years ago to accelerate on newbuildings as well. Indeed, beside improving safety & security, the newbuildings can be designed from skretch with latest hydrodinamic improvements and they can include organically all existing cuttingedge technology. Newbuildings lower the average age of the fleet and they can abate ton/km emissions by 50% against their immediate predecessors and six-seven times against the older units.”

“The roll out of the newbuilding programme in the Grimaldi Group has been relentless, including six series of ships to be projected and ordered. In the last couple of years, we took delivery of 12 ships, but in the next four years we will receive another 20. To put it into a context, in the last ten years our fleet grew around 35%, but we still have an orderbook of 15% to phase in, for a cumulative two-billion-euro expense for the Grimaldi Group. The technological turnaround of the fleet is massive.”

Economic resilience and growth

“What is more eye-catching in the very recent history of our Group anyhow is the trend toward economical resilience and growth.

Economical Resilience is what bare financial numbers report. Indeed, the Covid crisis hit hard many of our cargo niches and passenger volumes during 2020 and 2021. The shrink was dramatic on certain traffics. At macro-economic level, crisis came also with a certain credit crunch among many shipowners which had to close service or to rely on public aid to survive. Despite living in this same world, the Grimaldi Group not only survived without closing any service and without laying off any employee but geared up its business even in a hard playfield. The Group proved to be strong and resilient despite all, despite sanitary crisis and despite chip crisis, and despite having been excluded in the worst of the crisis from public emergency subsidies.”

ACL will be the star of the year. Trasmed GLE last takeover

“Now that the worst of the Covid crisis seems to be over, we can esteem that 2021 will be a good year. ACL in particular, playing more in the container sector, will be the star of the year. The financial strength of our Group has been the necessary pre-requisite for the operational growth. Beside the organic growth pursued through newbuilding programmes, Grimaldi Group acquired in spring 2021 some assets of Trasmediterranea, a 5-ship Med branch of Navieras Armas Group, thus creating the company Trasmed GLE. The purchase will reinforce the passenger and cargo offer from and to Spain and will also connect Spanish clients through the wide Grimaldi Group Network to a range of about 150 ports in the occidental hemisphere.”

“Let me say in front of the Valencian public of today, that the Grimaldi Group will by no means turn down the long history of Trasmediterranea, but on the contrary it will maintain Trasmed Spanish root and headquarters, it will keep all Spanish employees, the Spanish management, the historical ports and routes.”

Entering a new league of large-sized companies

“Today Grimaldi Group is growing again. Most probably we are entering a new league of large-sized companies, and the bigger you are, the more responsible you have to be. We recently learnt that some think thanks are theorizing the new concept of Human satisfaction as anappropriate purpose for corporations, enlarging the traditional customer and stakeholder satisfaction, in order to include also emotional wellbeing of people and ethical aspects from social justice to environmental sustainability. In this philosophical stream, big companies should aim at becoming a positive pillar of circular economy and growth of the countries where they operate. They should act as friends of their surroundings.

We feel that this is where we want to position the Grimaldi Group, and maybe where all big corporations in the world should position themselves, considering the power that the globalization is entrusting them. If we want our economy to be instrumental to justice and prosperity, or if we love our children at least.”