The 2017 sustainability and financial reports of A.P. Moller – Maersk, the parent company of box shipping giant Maersk Line, has outlined the company's environmental performance in the shipping sector for the year.
Maersk Line consumed 10.2 million metric tonnes (mt) of fuel oil in 2017 marginally higher when compared to the 9.5 million mt of similar product in 2016; the company spent $3.26 billion on fuel in 2017 compared to $2.12 billion in 2016.
It expects fuel consumption to reduce 0.5% every year over five years (2018 to 2022) due to various initiatives, such as the Connected Vessels project that upgrades data collection and reporting systems on its vessels and the replacement of fuel efficient newbuilds.
The firm also notes its Mumbai-based Global Vessel Performance Centre, which will be integrated with the Connected Vessels project, helping it save at least 400,000 mt of fuel and $250 million since the start of operations in 2012.
"With the roll-out of the Connected Vessel project, the input from vessels and the analytics available will increase enormously, and in turn the potential for savings," it states.
Meanwhile, A.P. Moller – Maersk says it has developed a strategy to operate in compliance with the new 0.50% marine fuel sulphur cap taking effect from 2020.
"From a sustainability point of view, the initiative is welcomed, but there are risks associated with the introduction of the new global standards," it explains.
"Sub-par enforcement mechanisms may skew the playing field, leaving those complying with the new legislation at a disadvantage, as the price of compliant fuel is likely to exceed that of the heavy fuel oil currently in use.
"At this stage, a deliberate choice has been made not to invest in the instalment of scrubbers on vessels (to enable the continued use of heavy fuel oil), and to maintain a dialogue with refineries to secure a sufficient supply of compliant fuel by the time the regulations come into force."
Further, tests by A.P. Moller – Maersk have concluded that the installation, operation and maintenance costs of scrubbers will not be offset by the level of cleanliness of emissions that can be achieved through simply using compliant bunker fuel; furthermore, tests reveal scrubbers reducing vessel fuel efficiency by as much as 2%.
Maersk Line registered two bunker non-compliances over 50,000 port calls during 2017.
In March 2017, a non-compliance was determined on a Maersk Line vessel calling at Long Beach in California where fuel in the ship's sulphur content was at nearly 0.2% when travelling in the emission control area (ECA) where the sulphur cap is 0.1%. The internal investigation confirmed that the vessel carried compliant fuel, and that the contamination was due to a human error in the switchover procedure.
In July 2017, another Maersk Line vessel was in breach of the fuel sulphur limit of 0.1% while in the port of Antwerp, Belgium. The company's internal investigation found that the vessel’s low sulphur fuel tank had been contaminated due to another human error in operating two butterfly valves between the ship’s high sulphur and low sulphur fuel tanks. The contamination raised the sulphur level in the low sulphur fuel tank to around 0.2%.
"We carried out a complete cleaning of the low-sulphur tanks and the onboard systems, have implemented specific procedures to avoid this kind of contamination on all relevant vessels."
Photo credit: A.P. Moller – Maersk
Published: 15 February 2018
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