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Michael Grey worries that the protests around the IMO’s MEPC 74 meeting could deflect from necessary action for the longer term to tackle environmental issues.

The drive for cost-efficiency and the slow steaming trend in the current shipping market makes it the perfect environment for ABB’s FiTS2 turbocharger system which it has developed in collaboration with engine maker Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD) and was launched at Marintec China.

While traditional supply and demand factors are important, another element has arisen in the past year that has had a much greater effect on the dry bulk market, said Howe Robinson Partners chairman Peter Kerr-Dinesen at the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference in Hong Kong this week.

A recent analysis by Clarkson Research suggests major declines in shipping fleet productivity, as measured by tonnes carried per deadweight, since the financial crash.

Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) says it has no plans to stop slow steaming even given the lower bunker price and believes it will continue for “quite some time”.

Even though the bunker price has dropped to around $450 - $460 per tonne in Fuijarah and Singapore per slow steaming looks set to remain the norm.

Slow steaming is no longer a new concept to shipping. The practice of deliberately slowing down the speed of a ship is in fact a common operating feature of today’s shipping market as a way to lower costs by reducing fuel consumption. And with shipping lines trying to stay profitable in the present weak freight market, slow steaming has proven a good way to trim operating expenditures so as to boost the bottomline.

Lukoil's industry-first automatic cylinder lubricant mixer has received a warm reception from the industry, with three units already in operation and a sizeable list of shipowners interested in the technology.

Increasing competition and new tonnage on Asia-Europe trades will force slower steaming across container trades, Drewry Maritime Research predicts.