Business Development Director, DNV GL Maritime
Anders Mikkelsen, Business Development Director, DNV GL Maritime, likens his career and the maritime industry to an onion. “As you peel away the layers, you find each one is even more exciting than the previous,” he said. It is that same depth that first attracted him to DNV GL, along with the company’s way of continually evolving to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. Whether through new products or the application of technology to improve efficiencies and add greater value for clients, Mikkelsen sees DNV GL as a modern classification society — at the forefront of innovation but rooted in experience and knowledge dating back over 150 years.
BCSN: I see from your bio that you’ve been with DNV GL since the beginning of your maritime career. Could you provide a brief overview of your roles within the company?
AM: I joined the company’s two-year international trainee program after receiving my Masters of Science degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The trainee program is a very unique opportunity and through it, I was able to work in our head office in Norway and at yards in South Korea and China before taking on a role in our Maritime Advisory unit. Over the next 10 years, I took on various positions, working in Singapore and later as an assistant to the former CEO of DNV GL Group, Henrik Madsen. Following that, I moved to an advisory role in Western Europe where I worked until I came to Vancouver in 2016. Now I focus on serving the market here on the west coast of North America.
BCSN: Could you give me a bit of context in terms of the business sectors served by your company and the disciplines offered?
AM: DNV GL Group is a global quality assurance and risk management company serving a variety of industries from our business areas- Maritime, Oil & Gas, Energy, Business Assurance and Digital Solutions. Each area offers a wide range of services to select markets but with significant synergy across the group.
For example, DNV GL Maritime develops and maintains class rules and guidelines and provides inspection, surveying and certification services. We are also a recognized advisor to the maritime industry. With our expertise, we provide support on key issues including noise and vibration, lifecycle management or safety risk mitigation, among many others. For cyber security, software for offshore and maritime engineering, operational risk and process safety systems and Veracity (DNV GL’s open data management platform), we pull expertise from DNV GL Digital Solutions. We see the services offered by DNV GL Digital Solutions enabling the other business areas more and more.
DNV GL Oil & Gas has gone through a transformation after some very tough years and is now well positioned for growth. DNV GL Energy, one of our most exciting business areas, is where we primarily serve the utility and clean energy companies. In some capacity, DNV GL has been involved in roughly 90 per cent of the wind power projects in the U.S., whether on the investor end, on the operator’s end or in working for the regulators.
The last business area, DNV GL Business Assurance, has seen strong growth in its traditional service portfolio as well as climate change services like emissions trading or carbon footprinting and is now the world’s largest management system certification company.
BCSN: What are some of the trends you’ve seen in classification?
AM: There are two megatrends: digitalization and decarbonisation, and the maritime industry is grappling with both.
Technology has significantly impacted the traditional survey, not only in the way we carry out surveys but also in the way we report our findings. Our barrier management survey approach is more tailored to a company’s targets and goals. The reporting is much more relevant for senior and top management and is being extremely well received. We developed the process with the cruise industry and are expanding it to additional ship segments.
Improvements in technology have enabled safer, more cost-effective and efficient survey methods. An example would be drone inspections. In 2016, DNV GL became the first classification society to offer drone surveys. Our surveyors are trained to operate drones and conduct the evaluation of the asset onsite or remotely if appropriate.
Remote surveying at a manufacturer’s site or on board a ship is done using a combination of voice, video and photography. Use of remote surveying completely removes the travel element, resulting in a benefit to the client’s bottom line as well as our surveyor’s work-life balance.
DNV GL is digitalizing processes where possible to the benefit of our customers and ourselves in terms of reduced costs, increased accuracy and a reduction in safety risks. There remain instances where our traditional approach is more appropriate but there is no doubt that digitalization brings greater value to our services.
Another service we offer is our 24/7 customer helpline, DATE (Direct Access to Technical Expertise), where more than 400 experts, covering all technical fields in centres around the world, are ready to answer questions, regardless of time zone. They reply within 24 hours or, in urgent cases, even faster. DATE is a fantastic tool and has proved to be highly successful for our customers.
Digitalization and innovation are the drivers for the current DNV GL strategy and the catalyst behind the launch of the DNV GL Digital Solutions’ organizations which absorbed the former DNV GL — Software organization and now looks after Veracity. Veracity is the secure platform for digital innovation and industry collaboration and includes a marketplace where you can access all DNV GL’s digital services and applications as well as services from third parties.
Veracity addresses the issue of data analytics for many vessel owners and operators, as well as equipment manufacturers. The asset owner deposits data into their secure “data container” — which we don’t even have access to if they so choose, although we are often asked to help structure and clean data for the use of analytics. The asset owner decides who gets access to their data for data analytics services aimed at optimizing safety and performance.
BCSN: Could you describe some of the trends in emerging technologies that are going to have an impact on the maritime industry?
AM: Where to begin! I should preface this by pointing out that DNV GL Group is owned by the free-standing, autonomous and independent foundation Det Norske Veritas and all profits go to further fund research and innovation and the development of new services for our clients. To that end, we have a large component dedicated to research programs for our current business areas as well as technologies that are just being conceived.
We’ve already discussed data analytics and digitalization. We have been extremely involved in projects looking at emerging technologies. For example:
Increased automation has the potential to improve the safety, efficiency and environmental performance of shipping and offshore operations — either in the form of decision support, remote operations or full autonomy. We launched our recommended practice for autonomous and remotely operated ships in 2018 and it’s just a matter of time until we see full autonomy for certain short sea or repetitive routes. Norway currently has several dedicated sea areas for testing of the technology. DNV GL is classifying the YARA Birkeland which will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship by 2022 with zero emissions. We are working closely with Yara, Kongsberg, Vard Shipyards and the Norwegian authorities to ensure our rules safely address all aspects of autonomous shipping.
An integral part of autonomous shipping is Artificial Intelligence and it’s becoming more prominent across the industry. DNV GL is using AI across our internal processes and we continue to learn and reap benefits from it. Several of our clients are exploring its application in detail and for predictive maintenance in particular.
The digital twin is another emerging technology that is of great benefit to the industry. While it is common now to have digital twins of certain systems, it’s still rarely seen for the complete asset. We have done it for several projects and we are setting up our class rules and systematics to manage it, although I don’t see all ocean-going vessels having digital twins anytime soon. On the other hand, for most newbuilds, there are 3D models of the hull already available so expanding them to include all systems and adding a live feed from sensors onboard produces a virtual image of the asset maintained through its lifecycle. Full-scale uptake requires cheaper and more reliable sensors. The transfer of data also needs to be more reliable and cost-effective. Several things that need to fall into place first for this to be common but it can be done today. It’s just a matter of the business case.
There are many other trends in technology — additive manufacturing, nanotechnology, etc., — that we’re studying. In fact, to this end, DNV GL publishes research papers and outlooks that are publicly available. Our “Energy Transition Outlook” is one study that provides an independent view of what we consider a ‘most likely future’ for the coming energy transition, and that report’s supplement, the “Maritime Forecast to 2050” describes the consequences of that transition for the maritime industry. We shape our strategy from these reports and engage with customers on a strategic level.Our “Technology Outlook” is another report where we provide a five to 10-year perspective on technology uptake, with supplements that take deep dives into our key market sectors.
New low or zero-carbon technologies will continue to be an important part of our work going forward. DNV GL was the first class society to develop rules for LNG as fuel back in 2000; battery and hybrid applications are pushing forward — we were the first here too. And over the past few years, we’ve been having discussions with leading companies in this part of the world like Ballard Power and Hydrogenics on maritime applications of fuel cells. We have research programs that are looking into the far future. For example, we are establishing a research program called Negative Emission Technologies where we will evaluate technology that pulls emissions from the atmosphere — like using CO2 for manufacturing polymers.
BCSN: I’d like to turn our focus to the West Coast. Can you tell me about some of the projects you have going on?
AM: Sure. DNV GL is currently working with Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards and the Royal Canadian Navy on the Joint Supply Ship project. We approve drawings and work with the designer on modifications and improvements to the German design that was selected. This design was originally classed by GL and our discussions about the project pre-date the DNV GL merger by a couple of years. Since that time, numerous technological advancements have been implemented into the design. This is a challenging project and we are happy to assist the yard and the RCN with their future supply ship.
We have also partnered with the Port of Vancouver on several exciting projects including their underwater noise project, ECHO, which studies the impact of vessel noise on Southern Resident Killer Whales. DNV GL was the first classification society to develop a class notation related to a ship’s underwater noise performance. The notation, Silent Environmental, or simply Silent-E, indicates a certain level of underwater noise has been achieved. Then there is Silent-F, for fishing vessels, which provides for an even better performance rating. Lastly, we have Silent-R, exclusively for research vessels and the most silent of performance ratings.
Given the Port’s gold standard rating, the notation provides for a significant discount on port fees — an almost 50 per cent reduction in fact. It applies more to newbuilds than existing vessels as it would be costly to retrofit tankers, bulkers, etc., although we are working with several cruise lines right now given that many of their existing vessels already meet the criteria.
We have other projects ongoing with the Port including a look into LNG bunkering options. The Port recognizes the trend and wants to understand what is possible as they’re already getting questions from customers. Bigger ships are being fitted now with LNG fuel systems so we will be seeing ocean-going, LNG-fuelled vessels on the coast at some point in the near future. It would be a competitive advantage on the West Coast if Vancouver were equipped to accommodate them.
We also work with BC Ferries and Washington State Ferries as their ISM auditor and we conduct annual audits of their management systems and top management as part of that.
DNV GL also classes most of the large fishing vessel fleet in North America which gives us great interaction with the local communities, in particular, those along the West Coast of B.C., Washington and Alaska.
BCSN: I understand you were also involved in Washington State’s Maritime Blue Strategy. Could you describe that project?
AM: The project, Washington Maritime Blue, was initiated by Governor Jay Inslee in December 2016 with the goal of developing a comprehensive plan to accelerate technology innovation and best practices for Washington State’s maritime industry. DNV GL was brought in to advise on the development of a vision for 2050 and the framework to support it.
There are five associated goals, action items and outcomes centred on technology innovation and commercialization; policy and incentives; workforce development, education, and training; best practices, standards and certification; and cluster coordination. There are some demonstration projects already underway in pursuit of these goals and more in the pipeline including policy-making to ensure there is a sustainable funding mechanism for innovation and the industry.
BCSN: Are there any nuggets of wisdom from that strategy that could apply to British Columbia or Canada?
AM: One of the most important findings in the strategy work was the clear need for an official cluster organization. There are parallels between the cluster organization and the Vancouver International Maritime Centre but the cluster goes beyond that mandate by linking to the different sectors of the industry — the designers, the yards, the equipment makers, the policy makers, the ports, ship owners, the fishing industry and aquaculture. The WA Maritime Blue strategy focuses on the entire ocean space rather than just the shipping industry separately and that is something I think would be very relevant for Canada.
Canada is an amazing country with huge coastlines, and there are a lot of maritime businesses but they’re physically isolated from each other. There would be significant opportunities if we were able to pull them all together, even more than what we see today. It would require cooperation amongst all levels of government, industry and academia but the effort would pay off.
BCSN: Last question — what are some of DNV GL’s priorities for the coming years?
AM: We’ll continue our strong focus on innovation and do so in close cooperation with industry leaders. This type of collaboration supports developments that genuinely benefit the industry because the industry plays a part in shaping their outcome.
We will also ensure that our classification offering continues to give our clients a simple and efficient experience while at the same time offer something beyond classification for those who are interested. DNV GL has always had unique offerings and that sets us apart from the competition.
The continued development of our customer interface, hosted on Veracity, is key for DNV GL. We are continuously developing and improving the experience for both our customers and employees. For example, “My Services,” currently available through Veracity, has more than 350,000 unique users who have access to applications like Smart Survey Booking, Digital Certificates, Cyber Security Self Assessments, Data Management Self Assessments, Remote Surveys, Drone Surveys, Digital Approval, Alternative Fuel Insights, Port State Control Planner, Energy Efficiency Evaluation Tool for Assets, MRV and DCS plan generators. These are only some of the great tools available.
At DNV GL, we take a broad view to ensure that we utilize all our strengths across the industries we serve. Our key priority is to stay relevant to our customers through the value we provide and guide the industry forward while serving our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment.
About Anders Mikkelsen
Anders holds an MSc degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the National University of Singapore. He joined DNV GL’s international trainee program where he worked in the Norwegian headquarters as well as in shipyards in South Korea and China. He assumed a role in the Maritime Advisory unit which led him to be involved in numerous risk projects, market entry studies, business improvement projects, due diligence projects, and energy management projects. He has been part of — and project-managed — large capability building projects for major shipyards and ship owners.
From 2008 to 2010, he worked as a Principal Consultant in Singapore, where he was heavily involved in business development, in addition to being a project manager. In that capacity, his work consisted of providing advice on the means of optimizing operations and increasing efficiency to senior executives and top management in maritime organizations, ranging from major ship owners and managers to lenders and maritime authorities.
Anders returned to Norway for a two-year role as the Professional Assistant to the DNV GL Group CEO and Corporate Risk manager. Subsequently, he worked for four years as the Business Development Leader in DNV GL Maritime Advisory Region Western Europe before moving to Vancouver in 2016 where his current role is Business Development Director covering the West Coast of North America.
About DNV GL
DNV GL is a global quality assurance and risk management company. Driven by the purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables its customers to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. The company provides classification, technical assurance, software, and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas, power and renewables industries. DNV GL also provides certification, supply chain and data management services to customers across a wide range of industries.
Combining technical, digital and operational expertise, risk methodology and in-depth industry knowledge, DNV GL empowers its customers’ decisions and actions with trust and confidence. The company continuously invests in research and collaborative innovation to provide customers and society with operational and technological foresight. With origins stretching back to 1864 and operations in more than 100 countries, DNV GL experts are dedicated to helping customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.
In the maritime industry, DNV GL is the world’s leading classification society and a recognized advisor. The company enhances safety, quality, energy efficiency and environmental performance of the global shipping industry — across all vessel types and offshore structures. DNV GL invests heavily in research and development to find solutions, together with the industry, that address strategic, operational or regulatory challenges.
For more information: www.dnvgl.com