DNV GL’s new project will help liners reduce CO2 emissions while providing an integrated customer journey
DNV GL is launching a containership excellence centre and network to help liners meet strict environmental legislation set for 2050.
To be launched in Q1 2020, the centre – based in DNV GL’s maritime headquarters in Hamburg – will bring together experts as well as offering connections to the class society’s containership offices in Korea and China and its maritime operational centres in Oslo, Hamburg, Singapore, Piraeus and Houston.
DNV GL maritime director of the containership excellence centre Rasmus Stute explained that the network was connecting the excellence centre, service stations and data hubs to “bring a better service level to be more responsive, to bring the right expertise in the right moment of time to customers.”
According to Mr Stute, the new centre represents a customer journey in precontract, design process, newbuilding, fleet in service and recycling: “In this building we have put all the experts on one floor, and you can walk this customer journey in just five minutes but passing a 25-year ship lifecycle.”
He explained: “We wanted to make it visible and touchable and we wanted to bring in the experience we have collected in our fleet service back into the ship design process so that we and customers really benefit from this.”
All DNV GL fleet and technical service centres worldwide answer 50,000 questions every year and this is fed back into the design process, Mr Stute said.
The container sector is set to grow by 88% over a 30-year period from 2020, according to DNV GL’s research. Mr Stute said: “It is one of the shipping segments that will grow significantly. It will grow on a relatively large volume and that is a reason why the containership segment deserves special attention, as the backbone of global trade.”
He went on to point out that there are three main challenges in the container shipping market. Firstly, market developments, such as economies of scale and dynamic growth in ship size: “Ship size is ever increasing, with cascading in the market and smaller ships are getting bigger,” said Mr Stute. “For example, 12,000 to 15,000 TEU ships are now the new middle-sized ship segment, used predominantly in US trades.”
Secondly, consolidation in the market is another trend flagged up by DNV GL. “Ten years ago there were 21 companies covering 80% of the market – this is now down to nine,” said Mr Stute. “There has been continuous profitisation of the industry and it is even more global than before.”
The third trend is technological developments, spanning new propulsion concepts, alternative fuels, and impact of digitalisation and new materials.
Cutting CO2 emissions
“Large containerships are a good way of achieving [CO2] targets…but at the same time liners need work horses [smaller vessels] bringing cargo to large hubs.,” explained Mr Stute. “That is why some customers are having a challenge achieving CO2 targets, as they have a mix of small and large ships.”
He noted that to reduce CO2 emissions even further, transportation efficiency must be boosted. Ways of achieving this include digitisation, aerodynamics, machinery, and energy sources and fuels.
“LNG will help us, but it is not final the solution in our journey to 2050. There is uncertainty about which technical solution to choose and that is why we established the centre. We want to take customers by the hand and help them take the right solutions for their future fleet, because 2050 is not so far away.”
The centre and network will consist of three main pillars of expertise:
The centre and its network will have three focus areas. One is how to tackle the challenge of greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Stute said: “The fuel mix for containerships will become more diverse. The goal is to build futureproof ships, as an investment decision today lasts for next 25 years.”
The second focus will be on safety, including fires on containers and reducing container losses. On this subject Mr Stute said: “We are looking into fires on containerships; we have a good collaboration with several companies on this. We are working on reducing and understanding container losses.”
Thirdly, efficiency and design optimisation will be a focus, including how to boost container stowage, via digitalisation.
Underpinning the conceptual base of the project is the need to work closely and collaborate with liner customers. “Our ambition is to provide a platform to develop solutions together, rather than standing there alone and dictating solutions. So for us it is really about the collaboration, and the platform we would like to provide to help stakeholders to come to solutions,” said Mr Stute.
New way of collaborating
He explains that the centre offers “a new way of collaborating with customers, working closer with them to come up with better products.” This including prototyping solutions quickly and presenting them to the customer, and refining product ideas to customer needs.
By way of example, Mr Stute highlighted a test conducted in 2018 on the subject of route-specific container stowage: “We chose two ports not too far away (sailing distance three days), allowing the carrier to use the actual weather forecast to adjust container stowage and so to reduce container restow in ports.”
He noted that every restow costs about US$250, so “if you save that you have a business case”. DNV GL refined this process with the customer and rolled out the so-called RSCS+ to other shipping lines. “So far this has been pretty successful and we want to do more of this”, commented Mr Stute.
“Liner companies are truly global; it is about accessibility of expertise and speed particularly is of importance … Building a centre like this that focuses on the needs of a vessel type is unique for DNV GL. The container sector is a large segment and we have quite a large market share in this segment.”