Many ship operators are failing to adequately monitor and control hull coating selection. Hempel group segment manager, marine and drydock, Andreas Glud explains why this is a major oversight
The container shipping market has, thankfully, managed to recover considerably since the much darker years immediately following the 2008 financial collapse. Today, freight rates are by-and-large much more positive. Fuel costs are slightly lower and relatively stable (although this might change in the run-up to the 2020 sulphur cap), and thanks to increased scrapping, the supply and demand balance across the container shipping segment has improved and far fewer vessels are being routinely idled.
While global markets largely dictate the major swings and flows of fortune in container shipping, the efforts made by owners and operators since 2008 to understand and improve the operational efficiency of vessels has delivered measurable savings. And consequently, long-term improvements to global supply chain cost management. These efforts must be sustained, however, and the search for operational efficiencies must remain a top priority. For while the hard work may now be visible, it is easy to fall back into old habits. With increased economic volatility across many major economies, shipowners and operators cannot afford to lose sight of the need to maintain a lean ship.
Benchmarking operational capability
Measuring, benchmarking and analysing the true operational capability of a vessel is critical to determining its health and ability to compete. In other words, for shipowners and managers to make and maintain tangible efficiency savings, they have to first be able to measure and understand how efficiently they are operating in the first place. This logic applies to all aspects of shipping operations – but many shipowners and operators fail to apply this level of monitoring and control to their selection and use of hull paints and coatings. This is a major oversight, as innovative hull coatings are proven to deliver significant efficiency and cost savings for all vessel classes.
Perhaps because the ship’s hull remains out of sight – literally and figuratively – it is too often overlooked as a vital organ in determining vessel performance. Any ship will start to accumulate fouling on its hull as soon as it hits the water. An initial single cell, or light slime micro fouling can increase the fuel bill by 7-9%. Over time, with growth and the arrival of larger organisms, plants and animals, the resulting drag can increase fuel consumption by as much as 30%. In today’s highly competitive market, this is an increasing cost that few shipowners or operators can offset or justify.
This is why measuring, monitoring and managing hull biofouling over the lifespan of a vessel is so important. Vessels, like their human operators, need the right support and care to perform at their best. Their health and performance is best judged in comparison to their peers, to understand how to improve how they are utilised or cared for. The ISO 19030 standard describes how to measure the changes in ship-specific hull and propeller performance and defines a set of performance indicators for hull and propeller maintenance and repair activities. However, at the moment only about 15% of the world’s fleet comply with ISO 19030.
Standard metrics of success
Hempel’s Systems for Hull and Propeller Efficiency (SHAPE), a monitoring and measuring service for managing hull maintenance is based on the ISO 19030 framework, and so provides standard metrics of measurement to calculate efficiency. SHAPE uses Hempel’s expert performance analysis of the vessel’s hull and propeller efficiency conducted by Hempel’s team of chemists, physicists and hydrodynamicists to benchmark hull and propeller performance. SHAPE provides the intelligence and analytics to deliver documented fuel savings, a measurable return on investment and a programme of continuous improvement that will sustain optimal performance in the longer-term.
Designed to follow the principles of ISO 19030, Hempel’s SHAPE system monitors a vessel’s long-term trends using in-service key performance indicators (KPI). The process involves six key stages of data analysis to determine the optimal coatings solutions based upon individualised speed power reference curves of a vessel. The calculations are based upon four KPI’s. These are drydocking performance, in-service performance, maintenance triggers and maintenance effects; each measuring the effectiveness of hull and propeller performance between distinct operational intervals. This intelligence allows for the development of tailor-made coatings solutions designed to deliver optimal performance, fuel efficiency savings and reduced environmental impact for each vessel over its working life.
Standing up against the competition
Detailed data on hull and propeller performance allows the shipowner or operator to make fact-based operational decisions. This is particularly important in the increasingly transparent business environment, in which all customers should be able to understand the environmental impact of shipping operations and have a clear picture of how efficiently and cost-effectively services are delivered by container lines. It also allows shipowners and operators to determine and prove operational gains to their stakeholders, and clearly demonstrate their strength among the competition.
ISO 19030 and beyond
The ISO 19030 standard consolidates the latest academic and industry knowledge regarding a standardised method to measure the performance of a vessel through the water. As a global standard, shipowners and other interested stakeholders can now apply this to measure the hull performance of their vessels.
And it is just a starting point, as Jotun Hull Performance Solutions sales director Petter Korslund explained. The industry is already looking at developing it further. “It is a first version and so not the perfect solution, but we are discussing how to improve it and make it work for everybody. But [it is] working in a way, as all other paint companies are saying they can use the ISO standard as a framework.” The need for such a standard is important, as the sulphur cap is driving forward the need for shipowners to digitalise their operations.
Mr Korslund singled out that one of the major benefits of the standard is it has been developed by all parts of the shipping industry. “It is not just paint companies promoting it, the group which developed the standard included paint companies, oil companies, class and shipowners.”
He said this meant different parts of the shipping sector were “embracing” it and becoming educated on applying it.
The standard has helped push a change in the shipping sector when it comes to the way shipowners approach data. “We have seen that owners are more willing to release and share data with us and they are getting more sophisticated and that helps us – eight years ago not many did performance monitoring, some owners were still producing reports. But this is slowly changing as the digital age is catching up.”
Jotun includes performance monitoring as one of the four parts of its Hull Performance Solutions, which is based on the standard. Mr Korslund said it had several hundred container ships signed up to this. Explaining how the performance monitoring worked, he said “We need to get sensors on board to collect the data, which is sent back to us,” so that hull and propeller performances can be monitored.
Performance monitoring is becoming an ever-more important part of Jotun’s business and the company is developing other services linked to it. “Paint is our core business but we want people to know that we are about more than just paint, we are also a service provider,” Mr Korslund explained.
New service offerings include the SeaStock Management Solution – which sees the coatings company assume full management of its customers’ onboard maintenance.
This solution includes condition surveys, ordering and logistics, direct communication with vessels, business and technical reviews, optimising products for individual requirements and crew education. Jotun claimed it is the first offer of its kind on the market.