UMAS parts ways with UCL Energy ‘to better serve’ shipping’s decarbonization

UMAS, formerly a close collaboration between the UCL Energy Institute shipping research group and UMAS International, is to take on a new configuration in order to better serve the shipping sector’s needs, as it moves into an era of rapid technological change and development related to decarbonization.

Port of Hamburg/Illustration; Image by Offshore Energy

From today, UMAS International will operate using the UMAS brand, as a technical commercial consultancy, independent and distinct from the UCL Energy Institute shipping research group.

“We’re excited to be moving into a new independent phase for UMAS. Going forward the brand will represent our focused and applied range of continually evolving services and models that will support the broad range of stakeholders to navigate the decarbonisation of the shipping, maritime and related energy sector,” Simon Davies, Managing Director of UMAS International, commented.

“Operating as an independent technical commercial consultancy UMAS, with a clearly defined purpose to support the decarbonisation of the sector, will continue to provide services to optimise the opportunities and minimise the risks the energy transition will present to its clients.”

The UCL Energy Institute shipping research group led by Tristan Smith, Associate Professor at UCL, originated much of the foundational research that has been built on through academic and commercial collaboration within UMAS for nearly a decade. The group will focus on further developing its research through an academic lens. This distinction from a commercial consultancy activity will ensure that the research group can focus on more fundamental research output, sharing this as transparently as possible in the public domain, and also attending to an increasingly urgent area of working in collaboration with lower income country institutions in efforts towards a just and equitable transition, according to the institute.

“UMAS has enjoyed being in the right place at the right time – a fascinating space at the interface between theory, politics and business, as first the case for, and then the rules for shipping decarbonisation have been developed. Being at that interface gave us unique insights that enriched both the academic and advisory outputs during the development of transition. However, now is absolutely the right time to add clarity and to get ready for what comes next, and these more distinguished purposes are the best way to stay at the leading edge across the areas we will continue to work in,” Nishatabbas Rehmatulla, Principal Research Fellow and co-lead of the shipping research group at UCL Energy Institute, said.

The next few years are expected to be pivotal for shipping’s decarbonization. Whilst multiple levers are already propelling shipping’s transition, next year’s expected finalization and adoption of the IMO’s mid-term measures and revision of short-term measures, is expected to turbo charge investment decision-making, commercial transformations within the sector, as well as the need for independent evaluation, monitoring and scrutiny.

UMAS estimated in earlier analysis that a decarbonization pathway similar to the one adopted in IMO’s Revised Strategy in 2023, will need globally about $400bn of investment to be committed in new technology onboard and energy supply chain by 2030.

Whilst also working independently, the two entities, UCL Energy Institute and UMAS International, plan to continue to collaborate in this new era, on reports and projects, including with third parties, and continue to exchange knowledge to maintain the broad understanding of decarbonization that has been so important to their evolution so far.

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