Go back

March 30, 2022

Voyager News, Voyager Blogs

Yes we can (and so can you)

Decarbonisation is on the minds of every vessel owner and operator, it is becoming increasingly important to consider digitalisation as the enabler and to understand how these two topics are related.

Proven outcomes from initiatives such as voyage optimization can yield 5-8% of fuel savings per voyage with an associated carbon footprint reduction – a big step towards achieving decarbonisation goals.

The digitalisation required can be daunting but there are practical ways to go about it. It requires commitment and investment and while it is not a quick process, tangible results can be achieved relatively quickly that could make a difference to your business.

Operators need to segment this journey on different levels with short, medium and long term objectives. An end-to-end transformation requires a phased approach, but the important thing is to make a start. A change of this magnitude is not a journey that is made overnight with immediate return on investment.

The near term priority is to gain operational efficiencies through voyage optimisation that reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon on current vessels from available technologies.

The next step is to monitor the fleet to understand how to maintain performance within market or regulatory trajectories through benchmarking and continuous carbon footprint reduction measures. This will then begin to inform decisions about which vessels can and can’t meet the goals of 2030 and beyond and shape decisions about their place in the fleet.

The typical approach is to digitalise business processes and then do the same for data onboard and on the shoreside, so that the right information can be collected at the correct frequency and quality and insights derived through analytics.

Pilot projects are a critical process in pursuit of meaningful returns. As new technologies are adopted – as in any other industry that’s coming up with innovative capabilities – a pilot implementation on one or two vessels is key. If operators are able to reap the benefits from that initial investment, it makes sense to increase the commitment to scale up across the fleet.

This can deliver marginal benefits that create short term efficiencies and enable vessel management to be more proactive. With a steady stream of good quality data, more advanced analytics can be applied to provide more recommendations that can help reduce fuel consumption, lower carbon emissions, navigate routes safely, predict equipment health and take decisions proactively.

The issue that owners have to appreciate is that there’s no lack of data available, rather, there’s an overload. What is important here is to understand which data have value, which provide the right insights and enable them to make the right decisions.

If the result is lower fuel consumption and a reduction in carbon emissions then the result is positive. Sometimes however, owners won’t see the whole picture, or have access to the data they need because the manufacturer or platform provider holds ownership. This is true too for the communications and distribution of vessel data; in some cases, the gate is truly open, in others, owners needing to analyse vessel performance instead find themselves in a walled garden.

The challenge for seafarers and ship operators alike is that shipping has traditionally preferred opacity to transparency; inefficiency sometimes pays better than proven performance. Digitalisation removes these barriers, if not at one stroke then piece by piece and permanently.

But change is happening here too. From a model dominated by secrecy and scant information, we are moving to one where platforms track and map ships and cargoes via AIS and vessels are managed from fleet operations centres benchmarking and predicting performance.

Rather than treat digitalisation as being all about competition, players from software, class societies to communications are working with start-ups and established industry players to harness the value they can bring to the table.

And its not just about regulation. Even before the new IMO efficiency regulations come into force in 2023, vessel operators may still find themselves under pressure to improve their operational profile from other sources. This may be from ship finance banks which are in the process of measuring the carbon intensity of their portfolios or it may be from their own customers.

A number of major charterers have already declared their ‘net zero carbon’ intentions, either though slow steaming or the adoption of new fuels, a change that reflects societal pressure too, especially where the company needs to demonstrate improvement to its customers.

With environmental compliance beginning to operate on both a regulatory and voluntary basis, operators will also need to be able to display credible data that demonstrates safe and efficient operations for their charterers.

In the longer term, decisions will have to be made around the options for adopting alternative fuels, which is preferred for the types of vessels owned or operated and whether this is a transition fuel or a long term option. However, that is a discussion for another day.

Share:
Week 21 2022: Top picks from this week’s latest publication releases Week 21 2022: Top picks from this week’s latest publication releases

This week’s New Editions Top picks from this week’s latest maritime publication releases and important regulatory guidance for each title …

May 19, 2022 – Voyager News, New Editions

Voyager Worldwide enhances Fleet Insight service with vessel tracking and alerts Voyager Worldwide enhances Fleet Insight service with vessel tracking and alerts

Improved voyage tracking and alerts, office technical libraries and a fresh map interface make it easier for shore-based managers to monitor vess…

May 17, 2022 – Voyager Product Announcements, Voyager News, Press releases

Week 20 2022: Top picks from this week’s latest publication releases Week 20 2022: Top picks from this week’s latest publication releases

This week’s New Editions Top picks from this week’s latest maritime publication releases and important regulatory guidance for each title …

May 12, 2022 – Voyager News, New Editions