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Improving vessel operations key to better environmental footprint

In meeting the emission reduction requirements for existing vessels owners need to do more than retrofits and focus on operating their vessels at maximum efficiency.

Speaking at the Seatrade Maritime Middle East conference Mike Konstantinidis, CEO, METIS Cyberspace Technology, the biggest challenge today was to reduce the environmental footprint.

He told the session ‘Profitable Application of Data in a Digitalised Shipping Industry’ that while new vessels would be environmentally friendly these were few compared to the existing fleet. Existing vessels could be retrofitted to improve their environmental footprint, but there was also major gains to be made in how they are operated. “We can improve operation of the existing vessels and you there is a huge, very considerable room for improvement in how we currently operate these specific vessels,” he said.

He drew analogy from Shipping Economics Professor Roar Adland that you can buy a brand new fridge with the best specifications but it doesn’t make any difference if you leave the door open.

Konstantinidis explained that to comply with regulations and indices in terms of environmental operation data needed to be reported constantly, from every single voyage. “They need to be reported in every single voyage. If we do it once doesn't help us improve, it doesn't help us optimize the environmental footprint onboard the vessels.”

He cited preferential financing under the Poseidon Principles and how shipping companies had been able to restructure their loans to take advantage of incentives based on lower emissions through the operation of their vessels.

Dennis Winterswijk, Sales Director Merchant, Inmarsat Maritime, said that among existing vessels it was LNG and LPG carriers that have the most sensors onboard and budget to really start working with that data.

“So, what we see in that category is that a lot of vessels collecting data from many different sensors onboard and use many different partners to work with that data. But also typically inhouse they have a larger team and much more knowledge to work with the data in their fleet operation centre to really see the benefits of that,” he explained.

Other sectors were less advanced in their digital journey and will require investment but Winterswijk believes these investments will be forthcoming over time. “In the end the benefits by far outweigh the investments that needs to be done.”


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