What is it about speed that upsets the shipping industry?
The following article entitled ‘What is it about speed that upsets the shipping industry?’ written by Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO, first appeared in the June edition of the BIMCO Bulletin here.
You won’t find many – if any – who disagree that the higher the speed of a ship, the higher the level of greenhouse gas emissions. So why would I argue that, while imposing speed limits may have a popular ring to it, it is not the answer as the industry seeks to cut emissions? After all, our mission is to do exactly that: cut emissions.
The important question is not whether a speed limit should be introduced to cut emissions, but how it would be checked. Before vouching for an argument, one must look at whether it can be done.
What looks good on paper does not always work in practice. Enforceability is a very important aspect of any meaningful regulation. Can authorities check for compliance? Is the regulation meaningful if it can’t be checked?
Only one option would work in practice
I can think of four possible options, but only one works when it comes to implementing a solution that can be measured and checked accurately, and that correlates to emissions:
- A limit for speed through water. This cannot be checked accurately, but correlates closely to emissions.
- A limit for speed over ground. This can be checked accurately, but there is a much lower correlation to emissions.
- A limit for average speed (over ground or through water). It may be possible to check this, but there is also a much lower correlation to emissions.
- Limits for propulsion power. This is the only option that can be checked accurately and has a close correlation to emissions.
To understand why this last option is the best solution, we must get technical.
Most people have an intuitive understanding of what speed means, and that is usually derived from personal observations when we move on the ground. If you move 7km in one hour, your average speed is 7km per hour. Short and simple.
What is less simple is recognising that, when we move on the ground, there is no slip. The wheels on our car turn one revolution, and the car has moved exactly the distance equal to the circumference of the wheel.
It is different at sea – and, for that matter, when we talk about movement in the air.
Measuring a ship’s speed through water is not accurate
When a ship moves, it moves through water. It also moves over ground – and so does the water in which the ship sails. Observing a ship’s speed over ground is really an observation of the ship’s speed through water plus or minus the current at any given time.
The problem is, we do not know the current at any given time, and measuring a ship’s speed through water directly is not very accurate, either.
When a ship is new, and the shipyard measures its speed/power curve, it does so by conducting a very precisely measured double run between two fixed positions: there and back. This eliminates the influence of current and results in an average speed over ground that accurately reflects the ship’s speed through water.
When a ship is in operation, it is impractical to measure in this way. The shipping company still wants to keep an eye on the ship’s performance, and this is often done by observing propeller revolutions and factoring in an average slip percentage for the ship. Slip is the relationship between the observed movement of the ship when the propeller turns one revolution in water and the propeller’s theoretical movement of the ship had the water been a solid material.
Some ships have doppler speed logs, which use advanced techniques to measure the speed of the water column below the ship relative to the ship itself. Still, the water flow is not laminar close to the ship hull and such devices need frequent adjustment to produce accurate results.
In summary, measuring a ship’s speed through water is not a precise exercise.
Low correlation between emissions and speed over ground
If you measure a ship’s speed over ground and try to correlate this to the emissions or the power of the engine, you would get a very large scatter. This is because the current changes by time and location – and it changes significantly. The difference between favourable currents with a ship and unfavourable currents against a ship may be as large as 50% of the speed observed over ground.
So there is a low correlation between a ship’s emissions and its speed over ground.
Cutting average speed – where is the emissions connection?
When we look at average speed – the third option, above – we need to bear in mind how speed through water and power correlates for a ship to understand if this could work. Remember the rule of thumb: power = constant x speed3.
A ship travelling between two locations, sailing at constant speed, emits 100% CO2. A ship travelling between the same two locations – sailing the first half distance at 50% higher than the average speed, and the second half distance at half of that higher speed – would emit 141% CO2. These two scenarios give the same average speed for the ship.
So there is no correlation between average speed through water and emissions. Averaging speed over ground just make things even more arbitrary.
Emissions are driven by power of the engine
All this may seem unimportant, but emissions are driven by the power of the engine that turns the ship’s propeller. There is very good correlation between emissions and power of the engine.
There is also a reasonably good correlation between a ship’s emissions and its speed through water, as mentioned in the first option. We must keep in mind, however, that two ships with the same cargo-carrying capacity – but different efficiency – would have different emissions. So the correlation between many ships travelling at the same speed and their emissions is not good.
We can continue to talk about speed limits for ships, but if we forget to ask ourselves the fundamental question of whether it helps cut emissions, we are heading in the wrong direction on our way to the industry’s 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets.
Limiting emissions via a ship’s power to the propeller not only gets us in the right direction, it encourages innovation around more efficient ships – and helps us assure a level competitive playing field on our way there.
Published: 19 July, 2019
Taiwan applies for tougher restrictions on bunker, aviation, and land-based fuels
0.5% sulphur cap will apply for Taiwanese international and domestic vessels by 1 July 2020, even though it is not a member of the IMO, states government.
Taiwan’s efforts to apply 0.5% sulphur cap at commercial ports prove effective
Taiwan first started implementing the sulphur cap in 2018 and even offered a subsidy to those who wish to switch to compliant fuel; SOx emissions have since reduced by 40%.
EU transport ministers back lower emissions for shipping sector
Declaration targeting a ‘carbon-neutral and zero pollution’ maritime sector was signed in an informal meeting; draft to be presented at next full council meeting.
Cargill and partners launch maritime decarbonisation program in Singapore
With ten other industry leaders, it aims to unite startups and industry players to test transformational technologies that reduce CO2 emissions.
IBIA: Call for IMO database on local and regional EGCS discharge restrictions
‘The database would presumably be managed by the IMO,requiring all members to report on specific restrictions in ports and waters under their jurisdiction,’ says IBIA Director.
IBIA statement on EGCS discussion at IMO’s PPR meeting: Avoid confirmation bias
IBIA urges IMO to avoid implementing a ‘one size fits all’ policy for EGCS emission guidelines by requiring relevant evaluations and scientific backings from specific areas.
Wärtsilä: Long live the internal combustion engine
‘What strikes us is that the combustion engine is extremely fuel flexible and only minor changes are needed to adapt it to new fuels,’ says Wärtsilä manager.
Geospock: Mapping maritime’s journey to zero-carbon with big data
‘Maritime has the opportunity to tackle sustainability by embracing data and developing a hub for maritime intelligence,’ says Maritime Business Development Manager.
EU funding boosts vessel fuel efficiency mission of SeaTech consortium
Developing ultra-high energy conversion and renewable energy propulsion to lower emissions and bunker costs.
ICS reminder: Ships can be detained under IMO 2020 rule from 1 March
Major port state regimes have already made clear they will rigorously enforce sulphur requirements, says ICS.
IBIA: Update on IMO Arctic HFO usage and carriage ban
IMO’s PPR Sub Committee to amend July 2024 usage and carriage ban, with caveat to extend usage for domestic shipping.
IMO: Strategies to meet GHG strategy discussed at Sweden meeting
Expert workshop held at World Maritime University, jointly organised with International Transport Forum and Nordic Energy Research.
Clean Arctic Alliance highlights loophole in HFO draft regulation as ‘outrageous’
Alliance calls for IMO to remove loopholes in draft regulation which leave the Arctic exposed to HFO for another decade until July 2029.
IMO calls for ‘urgent need’ to reduce GHG emissions from shipping
GHG reduction requires ‘new zero-carbon marine fuels or propulsion technologies,’ says Kitack Lim.
BIMCO joins Japan on proposal to regulate carbon intensity of existing ships
Package of amendments to environmental guidelines has been submitted to the working group on GHG reductions.
ECSA publishes position paper in response to EU Green Deal
Welcomes EU climate change ambition by outlining eight points where it can work with the shipping industry.
Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes Canada’s backing of heavy fuel oil ban
IMO must ‘not entertain any arguments calling for a delay or exemptions’ in implementation of Arctic HFO ban, says Dr Sian Prior.
Rotterdam in partnership to build battery/hydrogen fuel infrastructure
Forms agreement with E.ON and DeltaPort to implement battery container or hydrogen refuelling services in pilot project at Wesel.
IMO PPR committee to finalise verification guidelines for fuel oil carriage ban
Sub-committee will also revise 2015 Guidelines for scrubbers; develop measures to protect the arctic environment; and more.
Clean Arctic Alliance: Will London shipping summit act to protect Arctic from spills and emissions?
Clean Arctic Alliance reiterates its request for the IMO to urgently require all ships operating in the Arctic to switch to distillate fuels, in order to significantly reduce black carbon emissions.
DNV GL on HSFO carriage ban: Compliance is the only option
HSFO carriage ban effective from 1 March is an attempt to ensure transparency and that ships are not unjustly penalised.
Pacific Green Technologies highlights LSFO as ‘GHG timebomb’
Points to several studies showing producing and burning LSFO increases carbon emissions, whereas gas scrubbers save money and the environment.
Clean Arctic Alliance urges industry to reduce black carbon emissions
Dr. Prior names several other platforms for debate, but highlights main issue is the urgent need for IMO members to increase efforts to reduce black carbon emissions.
ABS and ClassNK grant AiP to Kawasaki Heavy Industries for LPG marine fuel design
‘LNG as fuel is attracting widespread attention as an environmentally friendly option, but LPG as fuel has advantages over LNG,’ says ABS spokesman.
IBIA replies to Clean Arctic Alliance in open letter on black carbon emissions
Suggests upcoming IMO Pollution Prevention and Response Sub-Committee to be ‘the most effective forum’ to progress Dr Prior’s debate.
Ammonia as carbon neutral fuel has high commercialising probability, says Korean Register
KR issues ‘Forecasting the alternative marine fuel: Ammonia’ technical information; comparing different types of carbon-neutral alternative fuels.
ICCT analysis points to ‘damning climate indictment of LNG as marine fuel’, says Stand.earth
ICCT report indicates the predominantly-methane-based LNG marine fuel traps 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than the same amount of CO2 over a 20-year time period.
Clean Arctic Alliance urges IMO to prohibit ‘super pollutant’ VLSFO and LSHFO
VLSFO and LSHFO usage will contribute to a massive increase of Black Carbon emissions which represent 7% to 21% of shipping’s overall GHG equivalent impact on the climate.
IMO 2020 regulation could have negative health and climate impacts, says research author
Dr Daniel Lack says cost-cutting group of oil refiners using residual fuel blends could send ship-source black carbon emissions soaring overnight.
China MSA publishes Guidance for Supervision and Management of Air Emissions from Ships
The Standard Club provides a summary of key points for IMO 2020 enforcement in Chinese waters by local port state authorities.
Global Maritime Forum: Approximately USD 1-1.4 trillion needed to achieve IMO 2050
Significant investments needed to decarbonise shipping can only be expected to happen if there is a long term commercially viable business case.
Safe Bulkers extends scrubber partnership with Alfa Laval through service agreement
‘The Alfa Laval Service Agreement will help us safeguard long-term performance, for example by using data analysis to keep systems performing at their peak,’ says Dr. Loukas Barmparis.
ABB presents recommendation for zero-emission marine technology to US Congress
‘ABB encourages the Subcommittee to set an ambitious, long-term national plan to achieve zero emissions for all vessels under its operation,’ says Peter Bryn.
BIMCO ‘concerned’ by EC intent to include international shipping in ETS
Very practical reasons for not taxing marine fuels as ships would simply bunker outside the EU, it says.
T&E analysis of MSC shipping GHG emissions in EU is inaccurate, it says
MSC clarifies only 40-45% of the 11 million mt of emissions were actually in the EU, unlike what T&E stated.
Debunkering of marine fuel from wrecked “Golden Ray” completed
More than 320,000 gallons of oil and water mixture removed from 26 fuel tanks inside the car carrier.
Environment group adds MSC to list of top 10 EU GHG emitters in 2018
The maritime sector is exempt under EU law from paying tax on its fuel, a subsidy worth €24 billion a year.
Port of Qinhuangdao issues incentives to vessels using low sulphur fuels
Priority given to the ships using 0.1% sulphur limit fuel oil to load and unload, and depart from the port.
Thai space agency detects 20,000 litre bunker spill from sunken tanker
Golden Bridge 2 had about 104,000 litres of bunkers onboard when it sank at Chao Phraya River on Tuesday.
Singapore Green Ship Programme, Green Port Programme extended
Singapore programmes to benefit environmentally friendly ocean-going and domestic commercial vessels.
ECSA rectifies Clean Shipping Coalition statement on ‘slow’ IMO talks
‘IMO Intersessional Working Group was good and fruitful preparatory work,’ it states in response to CSC.
IMO talks in ‘slow lane’ over speed reduction measures, says T&E
Proposed measure to certify ships that limit engine power ‘unambitious, opaque, and susceptible to cheating’.
IMO makes ‘positive progress’ in goal-based emissions reduction approach
There was no appetite for a prescriptive speed reduction regulation, says the UK Chamber of Shipping.
IMO pushes forward with work to meet ship emission reduction targets
IMO shares summary of Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships meeting.
Vitol Group acquires Sinanju Tankers Holdings; gains foothold in Singapore bunker ops
The Singapore Bunkering license holding entity has been renamed Vitol Bunkers (S) Pte Ltd and from 1 April 2020 all bunker deliveries will be carried out by Vitol Bunkers (S) Pte Ltd.
PMI Trading responds to Nustar Energy over alleged off-spec bunker fuel supply at Houston
Seeks to enforce either arbitration clause under contract or to dismiss NuStar and TPP respective liability claims, according to documents obtained by Manifold Times.
‘Minimal disruption’ to Singapore bunkering operations despite COVID-19, confirms MPA
‘We are closely monitoring the rapidly developing COVID-2019 situation while remaining committed to working with the bunkering industry to ensure minimal disruption to bunkering operations and services.’
Photo Essay: “Marine Vicky” in multi-agency emergency preparedness exercise at Singapore port
The emergency preparedness exercise involving SCDF, PCG, MPA, and Sinanju was carried out on the LNG dual-fuel bunker tanker at Raffles Anchorage on 17 March, learned Manifold Times.
Singapore bunker players continue Business Continuity Plans in response to COVID-19
Manifold Times checks along the bunker supply chain on how various companies are managing operations after the republic entered DORSCON Orange in response to COVID-19.
Survey: Singapore physical bunker players not as widely hit, despite fall in crude oil prices
Manifold Times checks with industry players on how the recent sharp fall in crude oil prices have affected each node along the marine fuels supply chain in Singapore.