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Don't forget the propeller, says LR's Tozer

Don't forget the propeller, says LR's Tozer

London: Container lines cutting speed on mainhaul container trades with Asia would do well to consider changing their ships' propellers at the next routine docking, says David Tozer (pictured), business manager for Container Ships at Lloyd's Register. Speed is now more expensive than it has ever been, he points out, and it is in operators' best interest to ensure their ships' maximum efficiency through the water. A propeller optimised for speeds of 24-25 knots will not be ideal for operation at 20-21 knots or even lower speeds. Of course, whether or not to change the propeller depends on expectations of future bunker prices. But there are very few analysts predicting a return to an era of cheap energy.

Ship operators may also contemplate the installation of waste heat recovery systems, both aboard new ships under construction and, where possible, as retrofits on board existing tonnage. Although such equipment does not come cheap, it offers scope for substantial fuel savings. Lloyd's Register estimates that current propulsion plant efficiency of about 50% could be raised to 55-56% by using effective waste heat recovery systems, equivalent to an overall fuel saving of 10-12%. A mainhaul container ship burning 220 tonnes of fuel a day could save as much as 25 tonnes, equivalent at today's Singapore price to $18,000 per steaming day.  [21/07/08]

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