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Saving fuel costs with accurate berth arrival times

A joint study by the Port of Rotterdam Authority (HbR) and leading Dutch research institute TNO has found that if seagoing vessels could be kept better-informed about berth availability, important fuel savings will arise

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Armed with this information, the master can adapt sailing speed accordingly, and the industry would make substantial savings in fuel and emissions.

 

So-called "just-in-time sailing" could be introduced if the vessels were kept regularly informed, particularly during the last 12 hours before arrival, about exactly when their berth will become available. They can then reduce speed and arrive just in time.

 

This leads to lower fuel consumption and lower emissions. Significant savings are also possible thanks to shorter waiting times for ships in anchorage areas.

Port of Rotterdam/TNO joint presentation to IMO Committee meeting in London last week
Port of Rotterdam/TNO joint presentation to IMO Committee meeting in London last week

This leads to lower fuel consumption and lower emissions. Significant savings are also possible thanks to shorter waiting times for ships in anchorage areas.

 

The results of the study were presented in London in October to the IMO working group on the reduction of GHGE from ships. "In percentage terms, we’re talking about modest amounts," said Astrid Dispert, Technical Adviser of the GloMEEP Project (Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships).

 

"But it’s exactly these types of measures that can make a huge difference in the short term and help reduce the carbon footprint of marine shipping. Added to that, they’d also have a beneficial effect on the wallets of the shipping companies."

 

TNO and HbR, which is a member of "Global Industry Alliance to support low carbon shipping," analysed all movements of container ships sailing to Rotterdam in 2017. "By supplying more accurate information to ships, 4%, or 134,000 tonnes of CO2E can be saved every year," said Jan Hulskotte, Senior Researcher at TNO.

 

"To do this, container ships would have to adjust their sailing speed by an average of 5%, and still arrive at the planned arrival time." Even more savings could be made if ships were better informed more than 12 hours before arrival.

 

The study also examined the impact of shorter waiting times in anchorage areas for all ships sailing to Rotterdam. In the bulk transport sector, ships sometimes have to wait at anchor for hours or even days; this is mainly due to contractual obligations.

 

Hulskotte said: "If this waiting time was an average of 12 hours shorter, that would really make a difference in percentage terms, with an annual reduction of 35% in emissions. So we’re talking about 188,000 tonnes of CO2 and 1,000 tonnes of nitrous oxides."

Screenshot of the Port of Rotterdam's Pronto call optimisation program
Screenshot of the Port of Rotterdam's Pronto call optimisation program

Allard Castelein, CEO of HbR, said: "Last year we asked the Wuppertal Institute to look into how the transport and logistical sectors could operate virtually CO2 emission-free by 2050. They said that our first step should be to take efficiency measures. This study shows that those measures are within reach."

 

Earlier this year, HbR launched "Pronto," a port call optimisation platform that combines a variety of data sources so that a port call by a vessel can be planned as accurately as possible.

Paul Smits
Paul Smits
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