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VPS: Using data to improve fuel procurement and fuel efficiency

John Oosthoek and Ruben Hofsli of marine fuels testing company VPS explore the pivotal role of data-driven decision-making in decarbonising the shipping industry.

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John Oosthoek, VP Digital, and Ruben Hofsli, Maritime Decarbonisation Manager, of marine fuels testing company VPS, explore the pivotal role of data-driven decision-making in decarbonising the shipping industry, with a specific focus on how customers are harnessing its data analytics solutions such as PortStats and Maress: 

Maritime shipping, which already is the most carbon efficient way of transporting goods, accounts for over 80% of world trade transports and for only 2.1% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions (World Shipping Council, 2023). In this global industry, where ships navigate a myriad of issues in a ceaseless dance of commerce and transport, our customers are facing a critical challenge – decarbonising their fleet operations.

Illustrated by initiatives such as the carbon intensity indicator (CII), a regulation introduced by the IMO in 2022, as well as the European Union’s FuelEU maritime initiative entering into force in 2025, there are growing societal and regulatory pressures on the shipping sector to reduce their environmental footprint. Clear targets have been recently revised by the IMO: 20% emissions reduction by 2030 and 70% by 2040 to reach net zero by 2050.

A key aspect in the pathway towards decarbonisation of the shipping sector is the efficient use of marine fuels. The quality and composition of marine fuels directly impact vessel performance, environmental sustainability, and operational costs. As the global leader in testing the quality of marine fuels, VPS assists its customers to navigate the complexities of marine fuel procurement, -treatment and -management. In this article, we delve into the growing role of data-driven decision-making in the shipping industry, with a specific focus on how our customers are harnessing our data analytics solutions such as PortStats and Maress to optimise fuel procurement decision-making, prevent off-spec fuels from causing vessel downtime and reduce the environmental footprint of their fleet.

Using PortStats to anticipate fuel off-specs and optimise calorific value

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Let us consider the case of a fuel procurement Director at a large ship owner-operator. As this company both owns the vessels and operates them, any fuel costs, as well as costs due to unplanned maintenance events directly impact the company’s bottom-line. The fleet typically bunkers in hubs such as Singapore, Rotterdam and Houston, but also has some fuel deliveries planned in other ports such as Cartagena, Port Klang and Lome.

This user experienced two clear benefits from using our PortStats solution:

1. By using PortStats to benchmark their existing fuel deliveries in Singapore, Rotterdam and Houston, the company was able to cherry-pick the most reliable suppliers in these ports, whilst also getting higher calorific value fuels in the process. This saved the company ca. 80,000 MT of marine fuel per year purely on energy.

2. The company was also able to prevent off-specs from negatively affecting their vessels. The user noticed a relatively high number of cat fines and TSP off-specs with one of their short-listed suppliers.

Whilst this may have been the top choice based on price, the company used the quality scorecards feature in PortStats to evaluate the market situation, and ended up going with the slightly more expensive alternative, which had much lower AlSi and no TSP off-specs, thus mitigating any consequent risks for engine damage.

Poor fuel management is one of the top three immediate causes for main engine damage, with an average cost of ca. $344,000 per incident (The Swedish Club, 2018). PortStats helps users to prevent off-specs and to be aware of potential operational considerations based on the quality of the fuels before bunkering. Furthermore, as the calorific value of marine fuels is an important decision-making factor, PortStats makes this variable transparent, giving bunker buyers and traders and important lever in determining the true value of a bunker stem.

Using Maress to optimise fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions

Maress

Now let us consider the case of connecting data from ship-to-shore. Nowadays, the majority of shipowners have operational data flowing from their vessels to their shore facilities in one way or another. Some of them have advanced systems in place, with high frequency data being available, whilst others rely on noon-reports. Typically, the equipment and technology that is available differs from vessel to vessel. The challenge then becomes to assess whether the available data is good enough and how to utilise this data to gain valuable insights.

Maress is the VPS solution focused on helping shipowners to systemise the data they already have at their disposal. Through visualising and reporting this data, Maress creates data transparency for our customers when it comes to fuel consumption. As a result, these companies are able to increase their focus on fuel efficiency across the board - from the crew onboard of the vessels to the onshore operational staff supporting them.

Note: The full version of this article which includes how shipowner Tidewater used VPS’ Maress to improve fuel efficiency of its fleet, can be found here

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 22 November, 2023

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Emissions reporting

VPS launches Emsys ShoreLink to help shipowners comply with EU ETS

Vessel owners will now have ability to get direct, real-time emissions readings sent to shore, allowing vessel owners to do operations optimisation to minimise emissions footprint including methane.

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VPS launches Emsys ShoreLink to help shipowners comply with EU ETS

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (4 June) launched Emsys ShoreLink to provide MRV/EU ETS-ready off-ship data capability to meet evolving market requirements.

Vessel owners will now have the ability to get direct, real-time emissions readings sent to shore. This allows vessel owners to do operations optimisation to minimise emissions footprint - in a market where owners are required to manage not only CO2, but also even more potent climate gases such as methane.  

The existing VPS Emsys solution offers an accurate emissions measurement, designed to help the maritime industry precisely measure and manage emissions from vessel smokestacks. 

With the added value of Emsys ShoreLink, the data can be sent directly to other systems for further analytics and direct EU ETS reporting.  

“Shipowners and operators are required to monitor and report their CO2 emissions. Traditional methods relying on standard emission factors often result in inaccuracies, leading to wrong decision-making and potential environmental and financial damage,” said VPS.

“Emsys stands as a market leader in providing the class-approved technology capable of providing full-range methane slip measurements up to 20,000ppm, a critical component for compliance with stringent EU regulations.”

Analysis of emission performance in relation to operational pattern and engine load enables taking the right decisions to reduce GHG emissions and methane slip. In terms of MRV reporting, which is fundamental for the ETS, the latest EU regulation amendment introduces the option of direct measurement of greenhouse gas emissions.  

VPS said Emsys now offered both standalone systems and holistic solutions, ensuring end-to-end management of methane slip and greenhouse gases (GHG) with unmatched accuracy and reliability. 

“The real-time monitoring and data analysis capabilities enable shipowners to make informed decisions to reduce GHG emissions and methane slip effectively, and the system is used on more than 200 vessels today.,” the firm added. 

Emsys is a hardware-based emission measurement system providing on-ship data in PDF or CSV format, suitable for printing or emailing. Emsys ShoreLink facilitates a live data export, enabling off-ship data transfer through most commonly used IAS and IOT systems. 

VPS said bringing Emsys data to shore opens new opportunities for real-time monitoring of emissions performance for the fleet.  

Simon Brown, VP Emissions Measurement VPS, stated: “Emsys ShoreLink represents a significant advancement in emissions measurement technology, offering shipowners and operators the tools they need for precise and reliable emissions management.”

“By integrating real-time data transfer and analysis capabilities, we empower our clients to make informed decisions that enhance both environmental compliance and operational efficiency."

Note: For more information on VPS Emsys, contact [email protected].

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 5 June 2024

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Technology

RightShip and ZeroNorth to integrate platforms to provide emission management solution

Users of either platform will be able to utilise RightShip’s GHG 2.0 Rating, along with RightShips’s Safety Score, and ZeroNorth’s advanced CII Emissions Analytics solution.

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RightShip, a global environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focused digital maritime platform, has partnered with technology company ZeroNorth to integrate RightShip’s GHG 2.0 Rating and Safety Score with ZeroNorth's CII Emissions Analytics solution.

Users of either platform will be able to utilise RightShip's GHG 2.0 Rating, along with RightShips’s Safety Score, and ZeroNorth's advanced CII Emissions Analytics solution. 

The collaboration will ensure users are provided with a comprehensive view of their performance to enable enhanced decision making aimed at driving zero harm outcomes as efficiently and effectively as possible.

ZeroNorth’s CII Emissions Analytics solution is designed to help shipping companies optimise their operations in line with CII requirements whilst maintaining a focus on commercial performance. It provides customers with full insight into both fleet and vessel CII performance and will proactively alert an operator or manager when a vessel is at risk of becoming non-compliant in the future.

RightShip’s GHG 2.0 Rating rates the emissions output of commercial vessels on a scale from A, most efficient, to E, least efficient. Used as an industry standard, it is the first rating to incorporate EEXI values alongside EVDI and EEDI by calculating and comparing a vessel’s designed efficiency against peer vessels of similar size and type using a speed-corrected methodology.

International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations require that ship owners cut their carbon emissions such that international shipping reaches net zero by, or around, 2050 and the introduction of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme for maritime operators means that effective management and reduction of emissions is one of the key challenges facing the sector in 2024.

Steen Lund, CEO at RightShip, said: “By integrating ZeroNorth's CII insights with RightShip's GHG rating, we are ensuring that the RightShip platform provides our users with the most comprehensive risk and environmental management solution available for the maritime industry.”

“Collaboration will be essential in ensuring we can achieve a decarbonised future for the sector, and this partnership is going to support our customers in improving their environmental performance, ensuring that the key tools in driving maritime decarbonisation aren’t being used in isolation.”

Nicolai Bendixen, Managing Director of Charter at ZeroNorth, said: “Together, we are empowering charters, owners, and all stakeholders in the maritime value chain with immediate, actionable insights into the emission profiles of vessels.”

“This integration ensures not just compliance with evolving environmental regulations but also equips our customers to quickly make informed decisions that align with their sustainability goals. At ZeroNorth, we are proud to stand at the forefront of this transformative journey, alongside RightShip, as we navigate towards a greener, more sustainable maritime future.”    

 

Photo credit: Chris Pagan on Unsplash
Published: 5 June 2024

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Technology

Singapore-based EPS to roll out DeepSea AI performance solution across fleet

DeepSea’s Cassandra system will help EPS to minimise bunker fuel consumption, reduce GHG emissions, and support its decarbonisation goals.

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Singapore-based EPS to roll out DeepSea AI performance solution across fleet

Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Friday (31 May) said it has entered into an agreement with DeepSea Technologies to implement a comprehensive fleet-wide deployment of DeepSea’s pioneering Cassandra Performance Monitoring platform. 

By leveraging DeepSea’s revolutionary Cassandra system, EPS will monitor its diverse and extensive fleet in real-time, through accurate AI-generated digital twins of vessel machinery. 

The fleet spans across multiple segments, including bulk, tanker, gas, container, and PCTC vessels. The implementation of this advanced technology will enable EPS to harness high-frequency data across all segments.

The collaboration between EPS and DeepSea Technologies will equip EPS with precise and detailed modelling and analytics. The Cassandra solution will deliver the most advanced and current understanding of the entire fleet’s performance, enabling EPS to make well-informed and dynamic decisions in real-time.

This enhanced decision-making capability will allow EPS to minimise bunker fuel consumption, reduce GHG emissions, and support its decarbonisation goals.

EPS’ Fleet Performance Manager Pavlos Karagiannidis, said: “As we embark on this journey of digital transformation, harnessing the power of DeepSea’s Cassandra platform, we’re not just optimizing performance. We are charting a course towards a more sustainable and efficient future for maritime operations.”

DeepSea CEO Konstantinos Kyriakopoulos, said: “We are very excited to start rolling out our solution across EPS’ diverse fleet and look forward to continuing to improve our offerings through the feedback of such a leading player in the industry.”

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 3 June 2024

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