Slow Steaming

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  • Topic: Container ship, A. P. Moller-Maersk Group, Carbon dioxide
  • Pages : 9 (1409 words )
  • Download(s) : 50
  • Published : January 27, 2013
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Slow steaming
The full story

Slow steaming –
the full story
Maersk’s development of slow steaming
demonstrates its capacity for industry-changing
innovation.
When fuel prices soared and CO2 emissions hogged
headlines in 2007, Maersk’s technical experts set
about solving the problem.
Slowing down was the solution they came up with.
By 2009, significant fuel savings and carbon
reductions resulting from sailing at 12 knots instead
of 24 saw slow steaming become standard operating
procedure for Maersk ships.
Today, after 22 per cent bunker fuel savings in 2010,
it is integral to the benefits enjoyed by Maersk’s
shipping customers.

2

Slow steaming – the full story

Two years of careful research were needed to
demonstrate to the world that pulling back on the
throttle made sense, because steaming at 10% of
maximum load went against conventional wisdom.
Engineers feared engines would be damaged and
customers wanted goods transported as fast as
possible.
But slow steaming has cut fuel consumption,
improved reliability and lowered carbon emissions in
one fell swoop.
Now our idea has become a widely accepted practice
used by container vessels across the globe.

16
knots
The idea
It’s no coincidence Maersk Line led the way on slow
steaming.
Maersk owns, operates and charters vessels, and
boasts one of the largest maritime innovation
divisions in the world.

In 2007 no engineering
charts showing fuel
consumption for container
ships below a speed of 16
knots (around 29 kph)
existed.
3

Slow steaming – the full story

First, the Maersk Line’s Technical Organisation began
recording findings on slow steaming on certain
routes in 2007 to improve punctuality and cut fuel
use.
It found that up to 4,000 tonnes of bunker oil could be
saved during a round trip from Europe to Singapore
on a large ship like Emma Maersk.

Later, Maersk Line also introduced a Bunker Leap
with the aim of driving down consumption of energy
and fuel expenditure, a move that brought slow
steaming into full focus.
But industry engineers were quick to voice their
fears that the practice would foul engines and only
harm them in the long run.

Overcoming doubts

To slow steam,
Maersk’s Technical
Organisation recommends a
number of actions, including
turbo chargers being cleaned
with soft blasts and more
meticulous maintenance of
fuel valves.
4

Slow steaming – the full story

To counter industry doubts, Maersk Maritime
Technology introduced standardised visual reports
of engines during regular port inspections, while
Maersk Line created detailed procedures for sailing
at low engine loads.
Together they enabled Maersk to provide facts on
the benefits of slow steaming and convince engine
manufacturers that going slower was neither
harmful to the engine nor dangerous for crews.
In late 2008 and early 2009 engine manufacturers
MAN Diesel and Wärtsila published Letters of No
Objection for low-load operations.
An effective endorsement, this owed to the
combination of technical experience and expertise
with more comprehensive reporting and data
gathering.
As a result, Maersk Line introduced its first unified
low load policy to its entire container fleet of around
500 vessels in early 2009.

Following Maersk Line,
Maersk Tankers has also
introduced slow steaming
as part of its operations.

Sharing’s caring
In order to maximise the financial and
environmental impact of its findings, Maersk decided
to share its technical and commercial insight with
the ship owners Maersk Line charters vessels from
and those with which it shares routes (the so-called
Vessel Sharing Agreements).
Again, Maersk Line had to convince the sceptics,
engineers especially, that slow steaming would not
damage engines but instead reap big commercial
advantages in a volatile market plagued by high oil
prices.
At this point the Letters of No Objection came in
handy.
They gave a few...
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