Shipping is under growing pressure to reduce its environmental footprint and needs to use data to meet its decarbonisation goals
IMO’s new energy efficiency regulations, Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Index (CII) are increasing pressure on owners and operators to begin taking action to green their fleets.
When the UN’s Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) meets in Glasgow, Scotland 31 October-12 November 2021 the maritime industry’s action, or inaction, will be vulnerable to further public scrutiny.
In response, shipping has highlighted three major pathways as viable to achieving compliance with EEXI. These include slow steaming and limiting engine power, retrofitting ships with clean technologies, and implementing low- or zero-carbon fuels, which the industry is now testing.
“While these routes have been recognised as effective in meeting energy efficiency requirements, failure to consider the sustainability of the entire supply chain would result in any consequent efficiency gains becoming ineffective,” said Napa chief executive Mikko Kuosa.
“It is an uncomfortable reality that slowing down the global fleet under incredible global trade pressures will lead to need to an increase in the number of vessels out at sea,” he explained to Maritime Optimisation & Communications.
“While each vessel might individually report a lower emissions output, failure to consider the emission’s reduction of the entire fleet could lead to total savings being near void.”
Similarly, as economies reopen and manufacturing recommences, port congestion is becoming a serious issue, raising emissions and reducing shipping efficiency.
“The efficiencies gained through implementing the pathways during a vessel’s voyage are potentially lost if that vessel rushes across the ocean, only to be stuck outside a busy and inefficient port,” said Mr Kuosa.
Another loophole in shipping’s proposed decarbonisation strategy, is the misalignment between charterers and owners with many charterparty agreements still incentivising vessels to operate in an unsustainable way, by rushing to wait.
“Owners are rewarded for arriving on time even if there is no berth available, in such a way that negates any potential fuel savings from slowing down on the way,” said Mr Kuosa.
“If the various actors up and down the supply chain continue to silo and separate the incentives behind voyage, fleet and port arrival co-ordination, planning and optimisation, it risks negating the benefits achieved by owners and operators who have implemented slow steaming, clean technologies, or alternative fuels,” he explained.
Business as usual, however, is not an option either. Shipbroker Simpson Spence Young identified 75% of the existing fleet will need to sail at slower speeds or apply another form of carbon dioxide abatement to meet global environmental regulations.
This needs to be implemented in 2023, highlighting the challenges in decarbonising shipping and finding solutions. Solutions to reducing CO2 emissions and scoring a higher CII do exist, whether it is weather routeing, cleaning ship hulls to avoid extra resistance, or avoiding waiting outside ports, said Mr Kuosa.
“At Napa, we use data-driven solutions to better iterate ship design, map fuel efficient voyages, and raise the standards for safety,” he said.
This Finnish company can access real-time and past voyage data to provide owners and operators with advanced data analysis. “The unique combination of hydrodynamic calculations, bathymetry data, weather and environmental monitoring, AIS and noon reports, creates an accurate overarching analysis of a fleet’s operations,” said Mr Kuosa.
“Applying this information to ensure vessels are sailing efficiently is more important now than ever before. Voyage planning, alongside slow steaming, clean technologies or low- and zero-carbon fuels is critical.”
To secure the safest, most environmentally friendly and cost-effective route requires combining a range of factors and data, such as weather conditions, emission control areas and other routeing restrictions, and vessel specific performance characteristics.
“Looking to the future, this data could also be shared with ports and terminals to create a greater connected and intelligent network to mitigate port congestion,” said Mr Kuosa. “The potential for optimisation and increased efficiency across the entire supply chain is monumental.”
Using the data derived from real-time operations can help shipping companies model vessels to be more efficient. “The application of data to improve future vessel design is important to continuously increase the efficiency of the global fleet,” he added.
Shin Kurushima Sanoyas Shipbuilding is already putting this feedback loop into practice. Real operational performance insights from a bulk carrier are shared via Napa Fleet Intelligence with the shipyard.
Operational data is collected on board and sent onshore via Furuno Electric’s open platform. This data is stored at ClassNK ShipDC’s Internet of Ships Open Platform (IoS-OP) data centre and analysed, with results shared with Shin Kurushima Sanoyas, enabling the shipyard to monitor the ship’s performance.
“The ability for the shipyard to measure the performance of its vessel will lead to faster design iteration and scope for better design,” said Mr Kuosa.
These solutions will help the maritime industry to achieve some of its environmental goals, but it will still be challenging.
“Undoubtedly, decarbonising the world’s biggest transport sector was never going to be easy,” commented Mr Kuosa.
“However, collaboration, industry alignment and using the data and tools already available to us will help distinguish the most viable decarbonisation pathway now, while working to address key challenges such as port congestion, cargo capacity and voyage routeing,” he continued.
“With the clock ticking, sailing efficiently should be integral to every owner and operator strategy, no matter what route they have chosen to achieve compliance with future regulation.”