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Friday, July 24, 2020 

Wilhelmsen says its environmental aims centre on three challenges: Decarbonisation, Marine litter and pollution, and Renewable energy: with respect to the first, it has joined the decarbonisation programme led by venture development firm Rainmaking, which includes industry leaders such as Cargill, DNV GL, Hafnia, MC Shipping (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp), Shell, and Vale.

The programme starts a second six-month cycle in August 2020. As it continues to progress through to the end of 2022, it will identify more than 3,000 high-impact tech startups around the world, fostering and catalysing a final shortlist of over 100 scalable pilot schemes and ventures. Each will seek a solution to the issue of carbon emissions in the shipping industry, with the ultimate goal of achieving industry-wide CO2-neutral status.

In the first cycle, Rainmaking identified 1,200 promising startups, with a cumulative funding of US$14 bn, based across 70 countries. Of these, 145 were given full due diligence screening and a final group of 51 selected for kick-off workshop participation. Each startup pitched a proposed decarbonisation solution, with those deemed most likely to succeed subsequently allocated partnerships with collaborating companies. Corporate partners do not take equity in the start-ups with which they collaborate. Instead, they provide the start-ups with access to resources, real-world knowledge, and mentorship from experienced innovators and corporate leaders.

Nakul Malhotra, VP  Open Innovation for Wilhelmsen, said: “Working with corporate partners and curated startups, accelerating technology capabilities to help the maritime industry tackle the big issues embodies the open innovation principles that Wilhelmsen fosters. We are excited to see the tangible steps being taken and look forward to maintaining the partnership spirit achieved.”

Tarun Mehrotra, Director, Trade & Transport at Rainmaking, said: “This is not merely an exercise — these initiatives represent real, working collaborations between a corporate partner and an innovative startup. Efforts such as these are essential to decarbonizing shipping within the next ten years. Taking action within the coming decade will prove pivotal to halting climate change and ensuring the resiliency of supply chains during a crisis like the one we are presently experiencing.”

Proposals so far include the development of new or alternative energy sources; augmented reality (AR) solutions; AI and data-enabled CO2 reduction; increasing energy efficiency; automation, infrastructure and business model innovation; greater transparency in tracking of CO2 provenance and quantities; carbon offsetting; and improved vessel design.

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