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The most effective route to meet shipping’s new energy efficiency requirements

16 Feb 2022

The following article was contributed by NAPA Shipping Solutions for sharing on Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times:

Written by Ossi Mettälä, Sales Manager, NAPA Shipping Solutions

Two new measures will enter into effect at the start of 2023 – the energy efficiency index for existing ships (EEXI) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). While EEXI is concerned with how ships are equipped and designed, CII is an indicator of how they operate. It is based on the Annual Efficiency Ratio which sums all the carbon emissions from ballast and laden voyages to port stays, and divides the result by the deadweight and distance sailed in a year (to give grams of CO2 per DWT mile).

Slow steaming is an obvious candidate for boosting CII for ship owners and operators. However, its effectiveness is limited without the potential for dynamic decision-making on a range of external operating considerations, such as weather. Owners and operators using slow steaming as the sole route to maintain a vessel’s CII rating are also at risk by operating in a way that threatens the commercial longevity of their fleet or vessel. CII requirements include a required reduction factor, which is set to become 11% more stringent by 2026 (relative to 2019), thereby constraining operational flexibility. Failing to optimise every element of operations could lead to a low CII rating; a rating that is unattractive, to charterers, shippers, institutions and consumers seeking to be more sustainable.

As CII is measured by the grams of CO2 emitted per cargo-carrying capacity and nautical mile, increasing fuel efficiency through intelligent voyage optimization is an easy and effective route to supporting true operational efficiency. NAPA’s voyage optimization and ship performance monitoring platform – NAPA Fleet Intelligence – enables all stakeholders to view real-time weather updates and is combined with accurate vessel-specific performance models to calculate how much fuel the vessel would consume on different route alternatives and at different speeds. This helps predict arrival time accurately and enables the ship’s crew to take advantage of a more balanced speed profile without risking their ETA.

Likewise, the preliminary results of a recent study conducted by our in-house experts found that limiting engine power would only impact speed in limited circumstances – further demonstrating why reducing engine power alone would be insufficient to achieve greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions at scale. The retro-optimization study explored the potential effect of EEXI on the transportation capacity, total emissions and carbon intensity of the global bulker fleet with NAPA Fleet Intelligence. We used real voyage data from 1500 bulkers over 12 months in 2019 and found for most of the year, if EEXI had been in effect, vessel operations would have remained largely unaffected.

In the same study, we found that the implementation of EEXI would reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 6.6%. This not only demonstrates the scale of challenge for shipping to meet the IMO’s emerging environmental regulation, but the importance of data-driven technologies in measuring the actual impact of efficiency measures and tactics.

Lost efficiency gains

To further demonstrate the potential benefit of voyage optimization in helping drive the decarbonization of the shipping industry, NAPA also analysed over a year of past transatlantic voyage data for MR tankers (47 voyages) to see how they performed compared to how they could have if they used weather routing. We found that vessels would have saved an average of 15.9% emissions with better routing and a steadier speed-profile.

The potential fuel savings that these vessels demonstrate the dynamic nature of long voyages, but equally, that there are weather and sea current conditions, on coastal areas for example, that can impact performance. As just one example: Neste, a charterer that takes an active collaborative role in voyage planning, engages in a constant dialogue with crews using NAPA Voyage Optimization. In planning a voyage from Houston to South Africa, they were able to save 37.3 tons of fuel compared to the Master’s original plan by using weather routing. Most of the savings were due to avoiding sailing against the currents off the coast of Brazil.

Measured gains

Adding new abatement technologies, applying timely maintenance and hull cleaning are further important way of keeping CII ratings on track. However, confirming the impact of these measures is not as simple as looking at fuel consumption reports day to day. Consumption will rise and fall depending on ship speed, draft, and weather conditions. Only by correcting for those factors will a ship operator gain true insight into the measures taken. NAPA Fleet Intelligence’s easy-to-use tools for monitoring technical performance suit this purpose.

Expanding from this, shipping companies can use the insights they gain to look to the longer-term tightening of regulations and collaborate further with their partners by creating a feedback loop that incorporates performance data into timely vessel maintenance, or even energy efficiency retrofit projects.

With access to the right data and the ability to turn it into actionable insights, we can start optimising voyages as the dynamic and complex processes that they really are – and unlock the GHG savings that our customers and planet demand.


Photo credit: © Kepler, © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap
Published: 16 February, 2022

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