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Live from CMA Shipping 2021

Just-in-time arrival ‘low-hanging fruit’ to reach IMO 2030 goals

The shipping industry should learn from the global effort to tackle plastic pollution by applying the circular economy mantra - reduce, reuse and recycle - to help guide it on its journey to a zero carbon future, according to key speakers at the CMA Shipping Expo & Conference.

“Reducing the waste in shipping” is a crucial first step to reaching the IMO 2030 goals, according to Paul Welling, Sales Director at Wartsila Voyage.

With nearly all sectors, in particular the container industry, facing rising fuel prices and soaring port congestion, and the costly delays this brings with it, improving the efficiency of fleet management could help reduce industry fuel bills and its collective carbon footprint by as much as 15%, says Welling.

“We will only solve shipping’s problems first by applying all of the solutions available to reduce the waste,” he told delegates at the show.

Welling outlined how early studies of its Navi-Port software point to significant efficiency savings for shipowners by increasing information flows between ports, fleet managers and ship captains.

Currently the lack of information flowing between ports and shipowners often results in vessels blindly sailing at full steam to their next berthing slots only to find that they need to idle in the port for days before they can eventually berth. With less than 40% of the world’s containerships currently complying with their scheduled times, according to liner reliability tracking, this happens from port to port, stacking up wasteful spending on fuel consumption and extra carbon emissions.

“Port congestion has almost become an acceptable term,” says Welling, “inefficient operations occur when you do not communicate when you need to arrive at the berth. What if we could do away with this waste? It could all be avoided just by letting the ships know when to slow down. If you had a communications platform you would be able to reduce the impact. If ships could be warned of congestion 2-3 days ahead they can slow down which offers 4-8% fuel savings.”

Moving towards just-in-time arrival is the first step to hitting the industry’s targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

Wartsila Voyage’s digital platform connects a ship’s navigation system with the port, which allows the ship’s manager to adjust the required time of arrival using the onboard navigation system, adjust the ship’s speed and schedule for just-in-time arrival.

In the world’s first “fully digital” port call between the port of Cartagena, Colombia and Tanger Med in Morocco, Wartsila’s software helped Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet manager Anglo-Eastern to reduce fuel consumption by 26 tonnes, saving $13,000 for its owners and reducing the vessel’s CO2  emissions by 73 tons by slow-steaming and arriving at the port just in time for its next call. 

Pulling data from its Fleet Operations Solution in ports like Rotterdam, Wartsila estimates that shipowners could save up to 21% on fuel consumption, 10% in time spent idling at the port and generate savings of up to $50m a year in fuel, as well as slashing waiting times at the port by up to 25%.

Greater cooperation and sharing of data throughout the industry would only help increase the savings available to everyone. “As in any industry moving to just in time you’ll see that transparency is the most important thing,” he said.

According to George Mangos, Principal at shipowner Interunity, there are simple examples, such as just-in-time arrivals, where the industry works together to share information, which are good examples of how collaboration rather than competition would help the industry hit its green goals.

Unfortunately, he said, industry stakeholders were still unclear of the best ways to work together. “There is a lot of investment moving in different ways,” Mangos told Seatrade Maritime News.

Watch full interview with Mangos at the top of this story.

“We don’t know which fuel source we should be concentrating on and rather than creating an environment where working towards our green goals is cooperative, it's something that becomes speculative and there’s a lot of wasted energy and a lot of wasted money there.”

Picking the “low-hanging fruit” can help get the industry ahead of the curve in the path towards a zero carbon future, according to Mangos. Saving on fuel consumption by implementing systems like Navi-Port, he said, were crucial.

“There is so much low-hanging fruit, you can save almost 15% of fuel by just coordinating your arrival at a port rather than idling outside of the port and waiting for your turn. These are very obvious improvements and benefits that we can make with a very minimal investment footprint.”  

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