Just-In-Time shipping reduces shipping’s carbon footprint

How accurate information and better communication is the key to a greener and a cost-effective shipping industry

If a ship communicates relevant information in advance before arriving in port, it can achieve a reduction of 23% in vessel emissions. That’s according to an International Maritime Organization (IMO) led desktop trial conducted last month in the Port of Rotterdam.

During the desktop exercise, a 247 nautical mile (nm) voyage between Bremerhaven and Rotterdam was simulated. In the first business as usual scenario, the ship received an arrival slot time at the pilot boarding location from the port once it was within VHF radio range: around 30nm away from Rotterdam. This slot is dependent on a range of variables including terminal berth availability as well as pilots and tugs.

In the second scenario, the ship received several updates from the port during its voyage. By simply receiving updates much earlier in the voyage, the ship is able to adjust its speed, leading to a 23% reduction in fuel consumption.

Technical adviser to the project, Astrid Dispert said: “More validation is needed and ultimately a real-time Just-in-Time trial – which is what we are working towards. But the desktop exercise showed the potential and the clear benefit that early communication between ships, port authorities and terminals can bring as it allows speed optimisation during the voyage.”

Data from this exercise will be fed into a Just-In-Time guide being prepared by the IMO led Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA). The exercise was conducted by representatives from the Port of Rotterdam, container line operators Maersk, MSC, port agency Inchcape Shipping and the IMO.

The GIA is an innovative IMO public-private partnership initiative, under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy-efficient and low carbon maritime transport system. MarineTraffic is also a member of the initiative.

MarineTraffic offers subscribers a port congestion tool, which covers every major global port and allows which can be used for more efficient planning and scheduling by ship operators, writing clauses and pricing for charter party agreements, comparison between ports and driving port operators themselves to enhance their operations.

Based on AIS signals, we are able to capture:

  • Arrival at anchorage
  • Departure from anchorage
  • Arrival at port
  • Departure from port

Once all four events are captured by the MarineTraffic system, we can extract actionable intelligence on time spent at anchorage, time spent at port and overall turnaround time; which includes the first two measures, plus any additional transit time from the anchorage to the berth.

Maintaining a reliable data set and avoid false results requires constant attention, when spoofing, technological malfunction or even vessel drifting can be misinterpreted as movement within the port.

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Bill Lines
Bill is a director of London based maritime public relations firm Navigate PR and has been working with MarineTraffic since 2013.