At last, an update

Life and work has kept me a bit busy. From here on I’m going to update much more frequently again.

2017 was a packed year. I spent five months as a visiting research fellow at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo. I brought my wife and two children with me and we stayed in a beautiful small house in Setagaya-ku (the picture above is from a “play-park” close to our house). My aim was to look into some interesting matter of concern in the Japanese maritime cluster. I had been reading about the organisation Maritime Innovation Japan Corporation (MIJAC) in international maritime press, and wanted to see how they were doing. Unfortunately, it closed the week we arrived! I still managed to interview quite a lot of people (around 30) in the cluster who had been working with MIJAC or related matters. Extremely interesting case, which will be the topic of an upcoming paper together with associate professor Yarime Masaru. Below is from a visit I did to Oshima Shipyard, on the west side of Kyushu.


I then spent the autumn writing up old material into papers, with teaching maritime energy issues at Chalmers and also of course with Sweship Energy. The innovation cluster funding we received in 2016 has now come to its end and we are awaiting a new funding process. I’ve also been part of the group discussing how the Swedish Shipowners’ Association should work towards 2045 foremost with the climate challenge.

I was going to visit shipyards in China for field research, but had to postpone to this year.

No papers published in 2017, but I did present at two conferences: the 2017 Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) in Kyoto, and at the 2017 Shipping in Changing Climates Conference in London.

I’ve recently submitted three different research applications, all to the Swedish Energy Agency. They are really pushing for more interdisciplinary and especially social science research which suits me perfectly. The first application concerns my own funding – I want to continue studying innovation in the process of ordering new ships. My present study concerns larger shipping companies with their own technical departments and resources for R&D. My suggested continuation project will concern how smaller companies without resources deal with these issues. The second concerns two PhD students on energy management practices, an application which I submitted together with professor Ulla Eriksson-Zetterquist at GRI and professor Patrik Thollander in Linköping. The third concerns a PhD student at Chalmers, Josefin Borg, who needs funding to continue her research on collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the maritime cluster. I was a co-applicant together with associate professor Anna Yström at the Department of Technology Management and Economics at Chalmers.

Next week I will finally begin my final case study in this project, the HERO-series of ships being ordered by Wallenius Marine in Stockholm.


Settled in Tokyo

We’re about a month into the 5-month visit to Japan and the University of Tokyo, where I am visiting the Graduate School of Public Policy. The goal of this short visit is to do a small study of collaboration in the Japanese shipping and shipbuilding sector on energy efficiency matters. Coming from Sweden, it is also very interesting to see a maritime sector that is quite a bit larger than the one at home. I will also be attending some maritime conferences, in Imabari for the maritime fair and Kyoto for the International Association of Maritime Economists’ (IAME) conference.

Last week for example, I was able to meet with representatives from Japan Maritime Center, Alfa Laval, and also the science and technology attachés at the Swedish Embassy. The recent decision to cap sulphur content in ship fuel to 0.5% percent seems to have generated a similar discussion here to what we had in Sweden a couple of years ago after the 0.1% per cent ECA-decision.

New position, new project up and running, heading to China and Japan

So I’ve moved to Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI) now – the interdisciplinary research institute of the School of Business Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. From the webpage:

Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI) is an interdisciplinary research institute at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. Here researchers work in programme format on projects that are highly relevant to current business developments and contemporary society. We conduct research in subjects like business administration, ethnology, sociology, law, psychology, education, Swedish language, technology, and environmental science.

While the Department of Shipping and Technology at Chalmers, from which I moved, was also interdisciplinary, GRI is very different. With the exemption of the PhD students taking Barbara Czarniawska’s graduate course in qualitative research, people are only here to do research. Collegiality being the norm, administration and general management is  kept to a minimum. I really like it.

I had a meeting with Harry Robertsson and Jacob Norrby of Stena Teknik today, to start planning my case study of a series of ships they’ve ordered – the IMOIIMAX series. Probably the most energy efficient MR tanker in the world:

I’ll be starting a series of interviews within Stena Teknik next week, and then, according to the actor-network theory method I’ve chosen for this project, following the actors wherever they go. Not in the least to the shipyard in Guangzhou, China, where the ships are built!

In March next year, if nothing out of the ordinary happens, we will be moving to Japan for half a year so that I can do some field research in the Japanese shipping sector, on energy and innovation. Thanks to Professors Yarime Masaru and Heng Yee Kuang, I will be a visiting research fellow at the Graduate School of Public Policy of the University of Tokyo.

Short update

Short update on activities in May-June

  • I made a presentation at Energihamnsdagen 2016 on academia-industry collaboration.
  • I hosted a meeting at Chalmers on energy performance monitoring in shipping companies, with guests from Aalborg University, SIMAC and the University of Southern Denmark who work on such projects within Blue Innoship.
  • I made a presentation of my PhD project at a meeting of the board of Gothenburg Research Institute, where I begin my employment as a postdoctoral researcher in September.
  • I gave a short lecture on energy management systems in shipping at a workshop on energy efficiency for ship crew, hosted by Sweship Energy where I also work part-time as research adviser.
  • I made a presentation on my PhD project at a seminar (video link) on energy efficiency research in shipping, arranged by Lighthouse.
  • We’ve had two meetings with the network for Swedish shipping companies for collaboration on energy efficiency, which is run by Sweship Energy.
  • I visited UCL in London to have a meeting with Dr. Nish Rehmatulla on future collaboration and also to attend a UCL seminar on GHG emissions and the shipping sector.
  • I’ve started my new research project.

Into postdoctoral life…

Yes, I made it…! My PhD thesis on maritime energy management passed the defence. As soon as I recover somewhat, I will begin my next project. I’m moving for (at least) three years to Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI) at the School of Business, Economics and Law at Gothenburg University. The goal is to see if it is possible for me, being an engineer, to become a social scientist while carrying out a research project on energy efficiency in ship procurement processes. I’ll be following some current new building projects starting from a few innovative shipping companies and then to wherever these processes go. My intention is that the method will draw heavily from actor-network theory. In three years time, there will hopefully be a book about it. I received a three-year grant for this project from the Swedish Energy Agency and their programme Strategic Energy Systems Research.

[UPDATE 2016-05-17: WordPress is telling me a lot of you are downloading my thesis. This is great. If you want me to send you a paper copy as well- which includes the appended papers -please send me an email with your address.]



In search of maritime energy management

Finally. Please find my PhD thesis about conducting research on maritime energy management practices in two shipping companies for a few years here.

Abstract as below:
This thesis deals with a transdisciplinary research project that concerned the implementation of an energy management system standard — ISO 50001 — in two shipping companies. This project was partially succesful insofar as we implemented the standard in one of the two companies. It is a thesis by papers: the introductory text discusses the research process, to explore in hindsight how transdisciplinarity was made possible. The appended papers bring up issues that were suitable to fit into such a structure during the course of the implementation project, and after. These issues are related to various aspects of “maritime energy management”. The papers can be read in any order, with or without reading the introduction first, but my intention is that you continue reading, page by page, beyond this abstract and onwards until recommended otherwise. On the other hand, as Umberto Eco wrote: “books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry.”

Please send me an email if you’re interested in a paper copy which includes also the appended papers:

  1. Johnson, H., Andersson, K., 2014. Barriers to energy efficiency in shipping. WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs.
  2. Johnson, H., Johansson, M., Andersson, K., 2014. Barriers to improving energy efficiency in short sea shipping: an action research case study. Journal of Cleaner Production 66, 317-327.
  3. Johnson, H., Styhre, L., 2015. Increased energy efficiency in short sea shipping through decreased time in port. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 71, 167-178.
  4. Johnson, H., Johansson, M., Andersson, K., Södahl, B., 2013. Will the ship energy efficiency management plan reduce CO2 emissions? A comparison with ISO 50001 and the ISM code. Maritime Policy & Management 40, 177-190.
  5. Poulsen, R.T., Johnson, H., 2016. The logic of business vs. the logic of energy management practice: understanding the choices and effects of energy consumption monitoring systems in shipping companies. Journal of Cleaner Production 112, 3785-3797.

If you’re in Gothenburg on the 8th of April, I will be defending it from 10-13 at Chalmers Lindholmen Campus.